Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Blue Petrel Halobaena caerulea


The Blue Petrel is a unique, prion-like petrel of the Southern Ocean. It resembles the prions (Pachyptila) in its bluish-gray upperparts, black "M" pattern above, and stocky, short-tailed structure. It differs from prions in having a white terminal band to the tail, a black hood, and a relatively slender bill. It breeds on Diego Ramírez Island in Cape Horn and South Georgia Island as well as islands elsewhere in the subantarctic. Non-breeders, perhaps mostly young birds, wander north to waters off Peru and northern Argentina, as well as elsewhere through the Southern Ocean. Blue Petrels often feed in flocks, and also nest colonially in burrows excavated in soft soil with grass cover.

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


© Michael Schrimpf

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Blue Petrel (Halobaena caerulea), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: