Resident along the coasts of Peru and Chile, where the distribution is closely tied to the Humboldt Current. Breeds north to Isla Lobos de Tierra, off the coast of Piura. Small numbers disperse north along the coast of Peru as a nonbreeding visitor, but is irregular in Tumbes. "Highly irregular" visitor to Ecuador; not present at all in most years, but occasionally occurs in numbers, especially during years of El Niño events (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). Vagrant to Colombia (Hilty and Brown 1986) and to Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). In Chile breeds, very locally, south to (at least formerly) Isla Mocha. Population along coast of Argentina established in late 1960s, but has since declined and likely disappeared (Bertelotti et al. 2003).