Saturday, 30 August 2014

Black-winged petrel

Pterodroma nigripennis

Photo by Nigel Voaden (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
black-winged petrel (en); freira-d'asa-preta (pt); pétrel à ailes noires (fr); petrel alinegro (es); schwarzflügel-sturmvogel (de)

Order Procellariiformes
Family Procellariidae

This species breeds in the south-western 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 northern and eastern Pacific as far as northern Japan, Mexico and Peru.

These birds are 28-30 cm long and have a wingspan of 63-71 cm. They weigh 140-200 g.

The black-winged petrel is highly pelagic, leaving in the open seas and only coming to land to breed. They breed in oceanic islands.

They feed mostly on cephalopods and prawns, but also sea insects Halobates sp., which are
caught mainly by surface-seizing and dipping, but also pattering. This species is often recorded feeding in association with other Procellariiformes.

Black-winged petrels breed in December-May. They breed in colonies on oceanic islands, nesting in burrows that they excavate on high ground inland amongst scrubs or tussock grasses. The female lays a single white egg, which is incubated by both parents for 45-46 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 84-85 days after hatching.

IUCN status -  LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large range and the global population is estimated at 8-10 million individuals. Despite an ongoing range expansion, population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species.

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