Join for FREE
It only takes a minute!
Magnifying the passion for nature. Zeiss Victory Harpia 95. New!

Welcome to BirdForum.
BirdForum is the net's largest birding community, dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE! You are most welcome to register for an account, which allows you to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Personal tools
Main Categories

Cape Petrel

From Opus

Photo © by Jean Paul PerretPucusana, Lima, Peru, July 2010
Photo © by Jean Paul Perret
Pucusana, Lima, Peru, July 2010

Alternative Names: Cape Pigeon; Pied Petrel; Pintado Petrel

Daption capense


[edit] Identification

Photo © by Ornitho26 Near Kaikoura (New Zealand), November 2005
Photo © by Ornitho26
Near Kaikoura (New Zealand), November 2005

Length 38-40cm (15-15¾ in), Wingspan 81-91cm.
Unmistakable boldly-patterned petrel familiar in the Southern Hemisphere due to ship-following habit.
Head and upper back black, lower back, rump and base of tail white with bold black chevrons, tail-tip black. Upperwing black with large irregular white patch on base of inner primaries and another on inner greater and median coverts.
Underwing white with broad and irregular black margins and a few scattered black spots.
Head black, underparts white with small black spots on undertail coverts.
Iris brown, bill and legs black.

Juvenile and adult are alike.
Unlikely to be confused with any other petrel.

[edit] Distribution

Photo © by Doc DuckKaikoura, New Zealand, September 2018
Photo © by Doc Duck
Kaikoura, New Zealand, September 2018

Circumpolar in Southern Oceans. Breeds on the Antarctic Peninsula and elsewhere in Antarctica, on South Georgia, the South Shetland, South Orkney and South Sandwich Islands, and on Bouvet, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, Macquarie, Belleny and Peter First Islands, the Snares, Antipodes, Bounty and Campbell Islands.

Disperses widely across Southern Oceans mainly south of 250S but reaches Equator off western South America and regular off the Galapagos Islands.

The most common petrel in southern African seas during the southern winter, common offshore in southern Australian waters April-November and present in New Zealand waters year-round north to Cook Strait.

Has been reported from California and Maine, and in Europe including one off Sicily in 1964 but none are considered to involve genuine vagrants.

[edit] Taxonomy

[edit] Subspecies

There are two subspecies, separable at sea in fresh plumage[1]:

  • D. c. capense:
  • Breeds circumpolar subantarctic islands; ranges southern oceans
  • D. c. australe:
  • Breeds New Zealand subantarctic islands; ranges southern oceans

[edit] Habitat

Breeds colonially on high inaccessible ledges on islands and Antarctic coasts during August to March, otherwise at sea. Highly gregarious at all times and one of the most frequent follower of ships. Quarrelsome and noisy at fishing vessels and whale carcasses.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Flight

Similar to Fulmarus with stiff-winged glides interspersed with rigid wingbeats, high and towering in strong winds. Feeds from surface in bouyant flight and treads water like storm-petrels.

[edit] Breeding

Breeds October-April, varies according to latitude. Nest is a slight scrape on rock ledge or crevice. Single white egg (63 x 43mm), incubated by both sexes for 45-50 days. Chick fledges in about 42 days.

[edit] Diet

Planktonic crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish. Also scavenges at carcasses and at fishing or whaling vessels.

[edit] Vocalisation

Voice: Whirring cooo at nest, harsh cackling calls at sea.

[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. BF Member observations

[edit] External Links


Fatbirder's Top 1000 Birding Websites

Help support BirdForum

Page generated in 0.27469301 seconds with 6 queries
All times are GMT. The time now is 03:37.