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

40. Soft-Plumaged Petrel — (Pterodroma mollis) — Plate 16

40. Soft-Plumaged Petrel
(Pterodroma mollis)
Plate 16

Field Characters: 74/33. A medium-sized grey and white gadfly petrel with conspicuous dark underwings. Upperparts slate grey; wings brownish black. Forehead mottled grey and white, crown moderately dark, eye area black. A grey collar extends down over the neck, often joining in the mid-line below. Underparts white with contrasting dark grey underwings.

page 47

Bill black; feet flesh-coloured with black extremities.

Differs from other medium and small gadfly petrels in having distinctive all dark underwings.

Flight very erratic and impetuous, interspersing glides with rapid wingbeats. Sometimes follows ships for short periods.

Abundant in subtropical and cooler seas of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Unconfirmed summer breeder at the Antipodes Islands. Rarely seen in New Zealand waters.