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Sep 11 2011

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Black-winged Petrel (Pterodroma nigripennis)

Black-winged Petrel

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Pterodroma nigripennis | [authority] Rothschild, 1893 | [UK] Black-winged Petrel | [FR] Petrel a ailes noires | [DE] Schwarzflugel-Sturmvogel | [ES] Petrel Alinegro | [NL] Zwartvleugelstormvogel

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Pterodroma nigripennis PO w

Genus

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.

Physical charateristics

The Black-winged Petrel is a small petrel with grey-white plumage, including an almost complete grey collar. The species has a short, stubby, black bill and a small head. The slender body is complemented by a longish, slightly wedge-shaped tail. The belly and centre of the underwings are predominately white with black on the outer edges of the wings. The upper sides of the wings are dark grey to black. At the beginning and end of the tail, the species has black v-shaped plumage. The Black-winged Petrel is distinguishable from other small Pterodroma by grey plumage on the cap, collar and between the underwing and body.

Listen to the sound of Black-winged Petrel

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wingspan min.: 63 cm wingspan max.: 71 cm
size min.: 28 cm size max.: 30 cm
incubation min.: 45 days incubation max.: 46 days
fledging min.: 83 days fledging max.: 87 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  

Range

Pacific Ocean : West. The Black-winged Petrel breeds in the south-west Pacific, from Lord Howe Island (Australia) and eastern Australia in the west, New Caledonia in the north, the Chatham Islands (New Zealand) in the south and Austral Islands (French Polynesia) in the east. Outside the breeding season it migrates to the north and east Macific, being common in the north-west Pacific in July – November, and particularly abundant between the Hawaiian Islands (USA) and Peru

Habitat

This species is marine and highly pelagic, avoiding land except during breeding.

Reproduction

It breeds colonially on subtropical and tropical islands and islets in the south-west Pacific Ocean
Nests in a burrow, up to a meter long in sandy soil but shorter in stony volcanic soil. The burrow is located on higher ground, and the entrance is usually hidden amongst bushes. Burrows typically are 0.4-1.0 m long. Nest chambers are lined with fresh green leaves and litter. A single white
egg is laid which is incubated for a period of five to six weeks. The chick is fed by both parents and fledged after about 3 months.

Feeding habits

Little is known about its diet, but it is known to include cephalopods and prawns which it catches mainly by surface-seizing and dipping, but also pattering. It has often been recorded feeding in association with other Procellariiformes

Video Black-winged Petrel

copyright: Peter Fraser


Conservation

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Black-winged Petrel breeds in the south-west Pacific, from Lord Howe Island (Australia) and eastern Australia in the west, New Caledonia in the north, the Chatham Islands (New Zealand) in the south and Austral Islands (French Polynesia) in the east
Black-winged Petrel status Least Concern

Migration

Outside the breeding season it migrates to the north and east Macific, being common in the north-west Pacific in July – November, and particularly abundant between the Hawaiian Islands (USA) and Peru

Distribution map

Black-winged Petrel distribution range map

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