Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Herald Petrel (Pterodroma heraldica)


French: Pétrel du Herald German: Heraldsturmvogel Spanish: Petrel del Herald

Oestrelata heraldica


, 1888,

Chesterfield Islands, western Pacific


Often considered conspecific with P. arminjoniana, but distinct in several characters relating to smaller size, pale facial markings and underwing pattern, plus different intestinal structure#R; despite a degree of apparent hybridization on Round I, off Mauritius#R, its specific status is here regarded as appropriate. Birds of Easter I sometimes placed in separate race paschae. Monotypic.


Tropical Pacific Ocean, breeding from Raine I (NE Australia) E to Easter I; also Indian Ocean, breeding on Round I (Mauritius)#R#R.

Descriptive notes

35–39 cm; 237–320 g; wingspan 88–102 cm. Polymorphic medium-sized gadfly petrel having pale, dark and intermediate morphs, always with white areas on... read more


Pale-morph on Henderson I most commonly gives a repeated “kyek-kyek-kyek...” sustained for 3–10... read more


Marine and highly pelagic, rarely approaching land except at colonies. Breeds on oceanic islands,... read more

Food and feeding

Very little known; diet of chicks on Ducie (Pitcarins) mainly squid (86% of samples, and 18 different species), fish (24%), crustaceans (10... read more


Season variable, probably depending on locality, e.g. July–Sept on Raine I (NE Australia); elsewhere, adults visit colonies almost year-... read more


Adults apparently fairly sedentary; immatures may be more mobile, dispersing over tropical and... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, but probably uncommon; overall population postulated to be c. 150,000 birds, the vast majority of these in the Pitcairn... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Herald Petrel (Pterodroma heraldica). 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 2019).