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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. Juvenile: as adult but with more distinct grey face patch. Length 40-41cm. Wingspan 97cm.
Widespread in the Southern Oceans. Breeds on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, on Crozet, Marion, Prince Edward and Keruelen Islands, perhaps also Amsterdam Island. Also breeds on islands off the south coast of Western Australia between Eclipse Island near Albany to Cape Arid and particularly on the Recherche Archipelago. In New Zealand breeds on many offshore islands and at a few sites in the north of the mainland of North Island. Adults are sedentary but juveniles disperse widely and occur mainly between 300S and 500S in the southern Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the south Pacific east to about Pitcairn Island. Fairly common off southern African coasts reaching 100S off the west and 190S off the east. Common off the south coast of Western Australia, also occurring off Victoria, presumably from New Zealand breeding range. Has been recorded near Cape Horn.
Subspecies Two subspecies recognised. Nominate race breeds over from Tristan da Cunha to Australia and Grey-faced Petrel gouldi in New Zealand which has grey face patch extending to sides of face and chin and thus very similar to juvenile nominate.
Breeds on islands or remote headlands, otherwise at sea. Shy at sea and rarely follows ships.
Flight: 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.
BREEDING Breeds February to November 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 November.
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