Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Common Diving-petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix)


French: Puffinure plongeur German: Subantarktis-Lummensturmvogel Spanish: Potoyunco común

Procellaria urinatrix

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Queen Charlotte Sound, South Island, New Zealand


Specific name sometimes emended to masculine form, urinator, but original spelling is invariable, and must stand#R. Races exsul and berard sometimes considered distinct species. Proposed race elizabethae (from Gough I) synonymized with dacunhae. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. u. urinatrix (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – Common Diving-petrel – SW Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea, breeding from SE Australia and Tasmania to N New Zealand including Cook Strait.
  • P. u. chathamensis Murphy & Harper, 1916 – S New Zealand islands (Solander, Stewart, Snares) and Chatham Is and neighbouring seas.
  • P. u. coppingeri Mathews, 1912 – SE Pacific Ocean, suspected to breed on coasts of S Chile.
  • P. u. exsul Salvin, 1896 – Subantarctic Diving-petrel – S Atlantic, Indian Ocean and S Pacific Ocean, breeding from South Georgia E to Antipodes Is.
  • P. u. dacunhae Nicoll, 1906 – S Atlantic Ocean, breeding on Tristan da Cunha and Gough I.
  • P. u. berard (Gaimard, 1823) – Falkland Diving-petrel – SW Atlantic Ocean, breeding on Falkland Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    20–25 cm; 86–185 g; wingspan 33–38 cm. Upperparts including upperwing and uppertail grey-black (blacker and glossier when fresh), upperwing browner,... read more


    Only noisy around colonies, both in flight and in burrows, with males giving a one-second-long “... read more


    Normally occurs on inshore waters more than P. georgicus, but also in offshore waters;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly planktonic crustaceans typically 1·3–29 mm in size, particularly copepods (Paraeuchaeta antarctica, ... read more


    Season variable according to locality, with laying late Jul (Victoria, SE Australia), Aug in Mercury Is (New Zealand), from Sept in... read more


    Very little known; presumably fairly sedentary, remaining throughout year in waters adjacent to the... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and abundant breeder on some oceanic islands, with global population estimated to be at least 7,000,000 pairs and 16,000,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Common Diving-petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix). 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 24 February 2020).