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Tuatara: Volume 21, Issues 1 and 2 (New Zealand Albatrosses and Petrels: an Identification Guide)

Group 1 — — The Fulmarine Petrels — (Length 37-47 cm.)

Group 1 —
The Fulmarine Petrels
(Length 37-47 cm.)

The fulmarine petrels comprise four species, three of which are largely confined to Antarctic waters, the other being widely distributed throughout the southern oceans. This latter species is the Cape Pigeon (29), the best known member of the group. It is a ready follower of ships, where its arresting, chequered black and white plumage pattern and graceful flight render this petrel quite unmistakable.

page 27

The Antarctic Petrel (22) is one of the most beautiful petrels a seafarer is likely to see (Figure 12). This species together with the smaller, all white Snow Petrel (48) are common Antarctic residents and do not range far from the pack ice. The large Antarctic Fulmar (26), however, regularly crosses the Antarctic Convergence during winter, and has often been reported from the coasts of New Zealand. Its grey and white plumage and flight behaviour strongly remind the observer of a gull.

All the above birds are surface feeders, taking crustaceans, squid and fish for food.