Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)


Cook's Petrel (Pterodroma cookii)


French: Pétrel de Cook German: Cooksturmvogel Spanish: Petrel de Cook

Procellaria Cookii

G. R. Gray

, 1843,

the Mangaoraka Stream near Kaimiro, north Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand


Forms part of assemblage often referred to as subgenus Cookilaria. Formerly included P. defilippiana as a race. Proposed race orientalis (from South American coast, thought to breed S New Zealand) may merit recognition. Monotypic.


Tropical and subtropical Pacific Ocean, breeding around New Zealand on Great Barrier and Little Barrier Is (off North I) and on Codfish I (off Stewart I, to S of South I).

Descriptive notes

25–34 cm; 112–302 g; wingspan 66–82 cm. Small grey-and-white gadfly petrel with distinct dark M across upperwings and mostly white underwings. Feathers... read more


Not known to call at sea. Gives a rather nasal, duck-like “kek-kek-kek” or “nga-nga-nga”, sometimes... read more


Marine and highly pelagic in temperate and subtropical waters, mostly within temperature range of... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly squid (Spirulidae, Cranchiidae); also crustaceans, fish and carrion. Study on Little Barrier I in breeding season found that food... read more


Starts Oct/Nov, with return to colony in Aug, pre-laying exodus c. 4 weeks, egg-laying 23 Oct to 3 Dec (on Little Barrier I) or c. 1 month... read more


During breeding season, mainly forages in seas E of New Zealand. Migrates to E Pacific during... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Until recently considered to be Endangered. Numbers formerly estimated at c. 50,000 pairs on Little Barrier I, with relict populations of c. 100 pairs on Codfish... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Cook's Petrel (Pterodroma cookii). 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 25 February 2020).