Atlantic Petrel Pterodroma incerta


Often considered to be of doubtful affinities in the years following its description, the Atlantic Petrel is structurally similar to the Great-winged Petrel (Pterodroma macroptera) and the White-headed Petrel (Pterodroma lessonii), but in morphology this gadfly petrel most closely resembles the dark-morph Soft-plumaged Petrel (Pterodroma mollis) and the Herald Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana). Appropriately, Atlantic Petrel is only recorded in the Atlantic Ocean, and is restricted as a breeder to the islands of Tristan da Cunha and Gough, with the overwhelming majority of the population confined to the latter. It nests in winter, in burrows and exposed ridges, but there is still very little published breeding data. Worryingly for the species’ conservation, there is evidence of predation by House Mice on this petrel’s chicks. Considered of no conservation concern just a decade ago, the recent data from Gough of very low breeding success have led BirdLife International to currently list the species as Endangered, with a precautionary note that the Atlantic Petrel might warrant upgrading to the highest conservation priority, Critically Endangered, in the near future. Atlantic Petrel probably feeds mainly on squid, of which some may be captured underwater, although smaller percentages of fish and crustacea are also taken. In the Neotropics, this species is known solely from southern Brazil, where it has been recorded mainly in the austral spring, largely in the post-breeding season.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more
Audio needed
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Atlantic Petrel (Pterodroma incerta), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: