Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)


Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis)


French: Pétrel des Hawaï German: Hawaiisturmvogel Spanish: Petrel hawaiano

Oestrelata sandwichensis


, 1884,

Hawaiian Islands


Has been included in P. hasitata. Commonly treated as conspecific with P. phaeopygia, from which it has been considered doubtfully distinguishable, but differs in somewhat different dimensions#R, with shorter tail (effect size −1.25, score 1) but longer tarsus (effect size 3.5, score 2) (total 3); extent of dark cap (cutting away more beneath cheek vs diagonal line down from cheek onto neck side) (2); little or no vs extensive dusky smudging on axillaries (1); slightly broader dark trailing edge of secondaries (1); usually entirely white forehead (ns[1]); usually narrower bill (ns[1) (all non-mensural characters from published data#R); 6−7-syllable call, “goo-oooo-gouih-gouih-gooo-o”, as against 3−4-syllable “kee-kee-kee-o” (difference considered “marked” and “important”#R) (allow 3). Genetic evidence supports this split#R#R. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

C Pacific Ocean, breeding in Hawaiian Is (Hawaii, Lanai, Molokai, Kauai, Maui and almost certainly elsewhere).

Descriptive notes

37·5–40 cm; c. 387–434 g; wingspan 94–104 cm. Large and slim gadfly petrel looking long-winged and long-tailed, dark-capped but relatively plain dark above and mostly white... read more


Gives a low-pitched, gurgling “goo-oooo-gouih-guih-goooo-o”, also rendered “a’-uuuuu-a’-uu-a’-uu-a... read more


Marine and pelagic, normally keeping well away from land, except at colonies. Breeds on thickly... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly squid, octopuses (e.g. Amphitretus pelagicus, Vitreledonella richardi, Argonauta sp., Alloposus... read more


Season starts late Feb/Mar (Maui, Hawaii), followed by pre-laying exodus in late Mar, laying from late Apr to mid May (mean date 8 May),... read more


Probably disperses widely throughout Pacific: birds range (up to 1300 km from colonies) N & E... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Population most recently estimated by BirdLife International at 6500–8300 breeding pairs and up to 16,600 individuals (or 19,000 birds based on at-sea... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis). 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 18 February 2020).