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Grey-faced Petrel - BirdForum Opus

Photo by swiss7
Wollongong, Australia, 2006
Pterodroma gouldi


Length 42-45cm. Wingspan 105-113 cm
Large, dark and long-winged gadfly-petrel that can resemble the darker shearwaters.

Adult: almost entirely blackish-brown with an indistinct greyish patch around the bill-base and underwing with silvery flash across coverts. Iris brown, bill all black, short and stout, legs black.

Similar species

Slightly larger than Great-winged Petrel. Overall resembles a juvenile Great-winged Petrel.


Breeds on islands off North Island (New Zealand). Recorded in the Tasman Sea and temperate and subtropical southwest Pacific Ocean.


This is a monotypic species.
Has been considered conspecific with Great-winged Petrel in the past.


Breeds on islands or remote headlands, otherwise at sea.



Swift and powerful, hurried with high sweeping arcs. Distinguished from darker shearwaters by bull-necked and head-down appearance and also short, thick bill. Also resembles Kerguelen Petrel P. brevirostris but larger and browner.


Feeds mainly on cephalopods. Takes also fish and crustaceans.
Catches its prey by dipping and surface-seizing. Follows trawlers but generally solitarly, rarely in small flocks. Also sometimes follows whales or dolphins.


Breeds February to December in a burrow or under a rock or vegetation, singly or in loose colonies. Eggs: 1, white (66 x 47mm) laid in May, hatch in mid-July-August and young fledge by late December.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2016. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2016, with updates to August 2016. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2016. IOC World Bird Names (version 6.3). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.

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