Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera)


French: Pétrel noir German: Langflügel-Sturmvogel Spanish: Petrel aligrande

Procellaria macroptera

A. Smith

, 1840,

Cape seas


Genetic data indicate that this species forms a clade with P. magentae, P. incerta, P. lessonii and P. gouldi#R; also, feather lice shared with these taxa#R. Has been considered conspecific with P. lessonii, and until recently treated as conspecific with P. gouldi. Monotypic.


Temperate and subtropical South Atlantic and Indian Oceans to S Australasian seas, breeding in subantarctic from Tristan da Cunha E to Kerguelen Is and on islands off SW Australia.

Descriptive notes

38–40 cm; 385–680 g; wingspan 97–100 cm. Rather large gadfly petrel with dark plumage, long pointed wings, and wedge-shaped tail. Adult uniformly... read more


Generally silent at sea, except perhaps during disputes over food; nocturnal calls at colonies most... read more


Marine and highly pelagic; widespread, but sparsely distributed at sea, albeit with noticeable... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly squid (Gonatus antarcticus, Histioteuthis) with some fish (Gonostomatidae, Photichthyidae, Myctophidae) and... read more


Breeds in winter, returning to colonies in late Jan (Western Australia) or Feb (elsewhere in range), followed by pre-laying exodus, egg-... read more


Disperses widely in subtropical parts of Atlantic, Indian and W Pacific Oceans, mainly at 25–... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly widespread and numerous, with total population of perhaps 500,000 breeding pairs and 1,500,000 individuals; c. 100,000 pairs... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera). 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 3 April 2020).