Genus Pterodroma, Pseudobulweria and Aphrodroma are also knwon as the Gadfly Petrels. They vary in size from rather small birds such as the Cookilaria-species, measuring about 26 cm, to the much larger and robust representatives of this group like the White-headed Petrel with an overall length of about 43 cm. Their plumages also vary a great deal from species to species; from completely black to light grey mantles and pure white bellies, and with different color phases within species. One feature shared by all of them is the black bill of which the shape also shows much variation. Some species are extremely rare and restricted to a very limited area, other are abundant and wander widely or have unknown pelagic ranges.
The group of the Gadfly Petrels counts over 35 species, mainly from the Southern Hemisphere. There are three genera: Pterodroma with about 30 species, Pseudobulweria counting four and Aphrodroma with only one. Many authors have tried to classify the large number of species of this group and to determine their relationships. This has resulted in a division in several subgenera and the grouping of several species which are considered to have a more or less close relationship. The taxonomic discussion has not come to an end yet: new species have been added or split recently and probably will be in the near future.
|wingspan min.:||88||cm||wingspan max.:||92||cm|
|size min.:||36||cm||size max.:||40||cm|
|incubation min.:||52||days||incubation max.:||57||days|
|fledging min.:||100||days||fledging max.:||120||days|
Video Baraus Petrel
copyright: Peter Fraser
Pterodroma baraui nests on the Massif of Piton des Neiges, Reunion (to France). In 1987, the population was estimated at 3,000 breeding pairs based on colony and coastal counts, and 15,000 individuals based on transects at sea11. More recently, improved knowledge of the colonies indicates that 4,000-5,000 pairs may be a more accurate estimate of breeding numbers, although this could be optimistic. In 1992, it was estimated that up to half the breeding population may have been killed by illegal shooting. Although this may have been an overestimate, the population appears to have recovered to former levels (because of large numbers of non-breeders) following the cessation of shooting4. It has been observed at sea north of Reunion, from the Oman Sea as far as Sumatra and around the Cocos Keeling Islands, and south-east towards Australia.