Diving petrel

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Diving petrel

Peruvian Diving Petrel
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Procellariiformes
Family:Pelecanoididae
Genera
  • Pelecanoides

The diving petrels are seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes. There are four very similar species all in the family Pelacanoididae and genus Pelacanoides (Lacépède 1799). They are auk-like small petrels of the southern oceans. The resemblances with that unrelated group are due to convergent evolution, since both families feed by pursuit diving, although some researchers have in the past suggested that the similarities are due to relatedness. Amongst the Procellariiformes the diving petrels are the family most adpated to life in the sea rather than flying over it, and are generally found closer inshore than other families in the order. Of the four species two, the Peruvian Diving Petrel and the Magellanic Diving Petrel, have highly restricted ranges around South America's coasts, whilst the Common Diving Petrel and the South Georgia Diving Petrel range widely across the southern oceans, breeding on islands off New Zealand, sub-Antarctic islands in the Indian Ocean, and islands in the south Atlantic (like Tristan da Cunha.

Diving petrels are plankton feeders, taking mostly crustacean prey such as krill, copepods and amphipod shrimps, also taking small fish and squid. They have several adaptions for obtaining their prey incliude short powerful wings, a gular pouch for storing food, and their nostrils open upwards rather than forward pointing as it is in other tubenoses.


These birds nest in colonies on islands. One white egg is laid in a burrow in turf or soft soil. They are nocturnal at the breeding colonies. It has a long period of parental care (around 45 - 60 days) in the burrow, but once the chick fledges out to sea it is on its own.

Diving petrels are amongst the world's most numerous birds, with Common and South Georgia Diving Petrels numbering several million pairs each. The Peruvian Diving Petrel, on the other hand, is threatened by guano extraction, introduced species and climate change, and is listed as an endangered species.

The four species are:

de:Tauchsturmvögel fr:Pélécanoïdidé fi:Myrskysukeltajat

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