White-necked Petrels

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Petrels

The White-necked Petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis) is a species of seabird in the Procellariidae family.


Distribution

It is found in American Samoa, Australia, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, Japan, Mexico, Micronesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, the United States, United States Minor Outlying Islands, Tonga, and Wallis and Futuna Islands. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland and open seas. The continued existence of this species is threatened by habitat destruction.


Description

This species resembles the Falla's Petrel, Pterodroma occulta, but is slightly larger at 43 cm length, 30-32 cm wing span and 380-545 g weight. It has a black cap, white rear neck, dark grey back, wings and tail, and a darker rump. The underparts are white with dark bases to the primary feathers. The upperparts of worn birds become darker.

It is very difficult to separate White-necked Petrel from Falla's at sea.


Behaviour

This is a solitary pelagic gadfly petrel of the open seas of the southwest Pacific. It has an effortless graceful flight with few wing beats, and does not follow ships. It feeds on the wing, picking fish and squid from near the surface.


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