Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)


Chatham Petrel (Pterodroma axillaris)


French: Pétrel des Chatham German: Chathamsturmvogel Spanish: Petrel de las Chatham

Oestrelata axillaris


, 1893,

Chatham Islands


Usually considered part of assemblage referred to as subgenus Cookilaria. Closely related to P. nigripennis. Monotypic.


Rangatira I (formerly South East I), in Chatham Is, and ranging over neighbouring seas. Reintroduced to Pitt I and main islands of Chatham Group#R, where formerly also on Mangere I.

Descriptive notes

30 cm; male 205–275 g, female 185–260 g; wingspan 63–71 cm. Rather small grey-and-white gadfly petrel with boldly contrasting and diagnostic pattern on... read more


Three main vocalizations described: a “tee, tee, tee” given in flight (similar to but slower and... read more


Marine and presumably pelagic. Breeds on coastal lowlands and slopes, in areas with low, especially... read more

Food and feeding

Very little known; cephalopods and fish recorded.


Returns to breeding island mid Nov to late Dec (males and females broadly synchronously), followed by pre-laying exodus of up to 35 days,... read more


Absent from colonies Jun–Nov, although individual departure dates vary from late Apr to mid... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Total population estimated at c. 200–400 birds in 1980s and early 1990s, but in 2010 considered to be c. 1400 individuals, including c. 1100 mature... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Chatham Petrel (Pterodroma axillaris). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 26 February 2020).