Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Not Assessed

Vanuatu Petrel (Pterodroma occulta)

Following the taxonomy applied to HBW Alive, derived from the HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World, this taxon is now lumped within White-necked Petrel (Pterodroma cervicalis).


French: Pétrel de Vanuatu German: Vanuatusturmvogel Spanish: Petrel de Vanuatu
Other common names: Falla's Petrel

Pterodroma occulta

Imber and Tennyson

, 2001,

14°27' S, 168°30' E, east of Mere Lava, Banks Islands, Vanuatu


This new name was proposed for a population previously included in P. externa, and later referred to P. cervicalis, to which appears closely related on basis of molecular-genetic data. No comparison of vocalizations of this form with those of latter from Macauley (in Kermadec Is) yet published, and treatment as a full species disputed by some authors. Monotypic.


Banks Is (Vanuatu): breeding so far recorded only on Vanua Lava; reported as probably also breeding on Mere Lava, but this now appears unlikely. Forages over open SW Pacific Ocean.

Descriptive notes

c. 35·5 cm; 300–350 g; wingspan c. 82 cm. Has black cap, white forehead, lores and neck, dark grey back, upperwing and tail, and darker rump and diagonal bar... read more


A rapid, decelerating “kek-kek-kek-kek-kek-kek” and a drawn-out “toooooo-wit... read more


Breeds on small islands. Feeds over open ocean.

Food and feeding

Flying fish (Exocoetidae), seized in the air, and squid (Teuthida), taken from near surface of water. Feeds on the wing. A solitary pelagic... read more


Little known. Nests in burrows, situated on steep slope (c. 45°), with entrance facing E; tunnelled under large rocks and boulders;... read more


Little information. Probably ranges widely over Pacific Ocean. A single individual found dead (... read more

Status and conservation

Not assessed. Restricted-range species: present in Vanuatu and Temotu EBA. Population size unknown. Breeding confirmed in 2009 on Vanua Lava, where several sub-colonies... read more

Recommended citation

Fjeldså, J. (2018). Vanuatu Petrel (Pterodroma occulta). 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 13 December 2018).