Atlantic Petrel (Pterodroma incerta)



Also known as Schlegel's Petrel or Hooded Petrel.


Close-up of an Atlantic Petrel (Pterodroma incerta). Photographed on 23 June 2001 off Brazil
(29 30'S, 45 01'W). Photograph copyright of Fabio Olmos©, 2000.

A large gadfly petrel, recognized by its striking white breast and belly contrasting with the rest of the plumage which is uniformly brown. Heavy bill..

Where and When

Classified as VULNERABLE. Population estimated at 40,200. Breeds on the Tristan da Cunha Group and Gough Island in the South Atlantic. Ninty percent of birds are on Gough.

Non-breeding birds disperse westwards towards the coast of South America (including the Falkland Islands) and eastwards to the coast of Southern Africa. Some may enter the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea. A single bird at Elat in Israel (May 1982) constituted the first record for the west Palearctic and was followed by another in April 1989.

Was once of major sources of food for Tristan Islanders during the winter but had become scarce by the 1940s and is no longer exploited. On Tristan da Cuna, rats probably affect breeding success, while on Gough Island, the only potential introduced predator is the house mouse (Mus musculus) which is unlikely to affect it but there is predation by the large Southern Skua (Catharacta antarctica) population.


Hillcoat, B., Keijl, G.O., Roselaar, C. S. and Wallace, D. I. M. (1997) Species new to the western Palearctic. Accidentals. Pterodroma incerta Atlantic petrel (Schlegel's petrel) BWP Update, Volume 1, Issue 2: August 1997. pp. 118-120

Many thanks to Fabio Olmos for his wonderful photo.

Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson
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