white-faced storm petrel

There are six sub–species of the white–faced storm petrel, three of which have been recorded in New Zealand; dulciae, breeding around southern Australia, maoriana, breeding around the mainland of New Zealand and the Chatham and Auckland Islands, and the rare albiclunus, breeding in the Kermadecs.

The biggest colony is on Rangatira Island in the Chathams group, where there were estimated to be 840,000 breeding pairs in 1994. The chicks fledge between mid-February and early April. They set off for the tropical east Pacific, and can be seen off the coast of Equador and the Galapagos Islands from July to September. They return to New Zealand to breed about late September.

There are widespread colonies of white–faced storm petrels in subantarctic to subtropical parts of the Atlantic, Indian and Southwestern Pacific Oceans.

Widespread throughout its large range, the White-faced Storm-petrel is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Sub Species:
maoriana, dulciae, albiclunus.

Other common names:  — 

Frigate Petrel, Procellaria marina, Thalassidroma marina, Thalassidroma hypoleuca, Pelagodroma marina, Pelagodroma fregata, Thalassidroma marina, Thalassidroma fregata, Mother Carey's Chickens, Little Peters, Jesus bird.

Description:  — 

Endemic bird

20 cm., 45 g., forehead, eyebrow and underparts white, crown, nape and patch around eye dark brown, back and upperwing brownish grey, contrasting with pale grey (NZ subspecies) or white (Kermadec subspecies) rump, slightly forked black tail.

Where to find:  — 

maoriana breeds on many islands of northern New Zealand from the Three Kings to Motumahanga off New Plymouth in the west to islands in the Bay of Plenty in the east, and at Chatham and Auckland Islands.

Illustration description: — 


Godman, Frederick du Cane, Monograph of the Petrels, 1907–1910.

Reference(s): — 


Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.

Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.

Page date & version: — 


Thursday, 5 June 2014; ver2009v1


©  2005    Narena Olliver,    new zealand birds limited,     Greytown, New Zealand.