Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

White-headed Petrel (Pterodroma lessonii)


Taxonomy

French: Pétrel de Lesson German: Weißkopf-Sturmvogel Spanish: Petrel cabeciblanco
Taxonomy:

Procellaria Lessonii

Garnot

, 1826,

“Dans les parages du Cap Horn et de la mer Pacifique par 52° de lat. sept. [= austr.] et 85° de longit.”

.

Genetic data indicate that this species forms a clade with P. magentae, P. incerta, P. macroptera and P. gouldi#R; also, feather lice shared with these taxa#R. Has been considered conspecific with P. macroptera, but timing of breeding cycles quite different; no mixed pairs reported, despite extensive sympatry. P. incerta sometimes considered sister-species. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Temperate to subantarctic Southern Ocean, breeding in New Zealand region at Macquarie I, Auckland Is, Antipodes Is and possibly Campbell I; S Indian Ocean at Crozets, Kerguelen Is and possibly Prince Edward Is.

Descriptive notes

40–46 cm; 580–810 g; wingspan 109 cm. Distinctive white-headed petrel with dark patch through eye, becoming pale pearl-grey on nape, large pearl-grey to... read more

Voice

Only vocal around colonies (virtually throughout season), usually in flight, more rarely from... read more

Habitat

Marine and highly pelagic, rarely approaching land except at colonies; visits inshore waters during... read more

Food and feeding

Apparently mostly squid and crustaceans; fish also recorded. On Kerguelen Is, diet of chicks mainly squid (present in 77% of samples),... read more

Breeding

Starts Oct, with return to colony in late Aug; pre-laying exodus poorly documented though apparently lasts from mid Oct to mid Nov on... read more

Movements

Disperses widely over Southern Ocean, probably in circumpolar range, generally S of 30° S, with... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population probably c. 600,000 birds, though figures lacking for several areas; key breeding sites include Antipodes (Antipodes... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). White-headed Petrel (Pterodroma lessonii). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/52522 on 17 July 2018).