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Fiji Petrel - BirdForum Opus

Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi

Pterodroma macgillivrayi


Uniformly dark brown petrel - similar to Bulwer's and Jouanin's Petrels.
Larger and more thick-set than Bulwer's Petrel, with a noticably larger head ( "bull-headed" ), shorter tail - with a slightly squarer tip, making the bird look squatter, in flight. "Arm" possibly longer, in proportion to "hand" than Bulwer's, giving a subtly different "jizz". Bill much shorter and thicker - looks more like a "blob" at any distance- than either Bulwer's or Jouanin's Petrels. No carpal bar on the upperwing, the underwing shows "silvery" with a thin trailing edge and a broader leading edge from the body to the carpal joint, no dark on the axillaries.

Similar Species

Lacks the white cap seen on the Black Noddy. Bulwer's Petrel has buff wing bars.


Endemic to the Fiji Islands. Breeds on Gau ( Ngau ) Island but the status is uncertain and distribution at sea is unknown.


Pseudobulweria vs. Pterodroma

Clements (2010) and Sibley & Monroe (1996) place Mascarene Petrel, Tahiti Petrel, Beck's Petrel and Fiji Petrel in Pterodroma. However, Howard & Moore, 2003, Brooke 2004, Christidis & Boles 2008, and Gill & Donsker 2010 recognise the genus Pseudobulweria.

This is a monotypic species[1].


Typical tubenose in that it is only coming to land for breeding.



In flight - in calm weather - shows a classic "flap and glide" pattern, close to the water. Shows both upper and undersides when turning, but doesn't "tower". Amplitude of wingbeats less / shallower than Bulwer's Petrel.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2013. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.8., with updates to August 2013. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdLife International
  3. Bretagnolle, Vincent; Attié, Carole & Pasquet, Eric (1998): Cytochrome-B evidence for validity and phylogenetic relationships of Pseudobulweria and Bulweria (Procellariidae). Auk 115(1): 188-195 PDF fulltext
  4. Brooke, Michael (2004): Albatrosses and Petrels across the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York. ISBN 0-19-850125-0
  5. Christidis L, Boles WE: Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Canberra: CSIRO Publishing 2008, ISBN 9780643065116

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