Gould's Petrels

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Petrels

Gould's Petrel (Pterodroma leucoptera) is a species of seabird in the Procellariidae family.


Description

It is a small petrel, 30 cm long with a wingspan of about 70 cm.

It is largely grey above and white below with a blackish crown and hindneck and a black M-shaped band across the wings and rump.


Distribution / Breeding

The subspecies P. l. leucoptera breeds on Cabbage Tree Island in New South Wales, Australia while P. l. caledonicus breeds in New Caledonia and possibly in Vanuatu and on Raivavae in French Polynesia.

The Collared Petrel (P. brevipes) is sometimes regarded as a third subspecies but is often split as a separate species.

In New Caledonia it nests in burrows on steep mountainsides. On Cabbage Tree Island it nests among rocks or among the roots and fallen fronds of cabbage tree palms.

Outside the breeding season, it disperses into the open seas of the subtropical and tropical Pacific, occurring as far east as the Galapagos Islands.


Status

It is threatened by introduced predators such as rats, cats and pigs. On Cabbage Tree island, grazing by rabbits altered the vegetation, making the birds more vulnerable to predation. They were brought back from the edge of extinction.


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