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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Pelagodroma Marina. — (White-Faced Storm-Petrel.)

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Pelagodroma Marina.
(White-Faced Storm-Petrel.)

  • Frigate Petrel, Lath. Gen. Syn. iii. pt. 2, p. 410 (1785).

  • Procellaria marina, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii. p. 826 (1790).

  • Thalassidroma marina, Gray, Voy. Ereb. and Terror, Birds, p. 17 (1844).

  • Thalassidroma hypoleuca, Moquin-Tandon, Orn. Canar. p. 45 (c. 1850).

  • Pelagodroma marina, Reich. Syst. Av. p. iv (1852).

  • Pelagodroma fregata, Bonap. C. R. xlii. p. 769 (1856).

  • Thalassidroma marina, Hutton, Ibis, 1872, p. 249.

  • Thalassidroma fregata, Buller, Birds of New Zealand, 1st ed. p. 321 (1873).

Ad. suprà cinerascenti-fuliginosus, pileo saturatiore: uropygio imo et supracaudalibus clariùs cineraceis: tectricibus alarum brunnescentibus, majoribus pallidioribus: remigibus et rectricibus brunnescenti-nigris: fronte cum supercilio distincto, facie laterali et corpore subtùs toto albis: plumis circumocularibus et regione auriculari cinerascenti-fuliginosis: collo laterali, hypochondriis imis et subcaudalibus clariùs cineraceis: rostro nigro: pedibus nigris, palmis flavicantibus: iride saturatè rufescenti-nigrâ.

Adult. Crown of the head, nape, and a broad patch from the under margins of the eyes, spreading over the earcoverts, sooty grey; upper surface sooty brown, darker on the wings, and changing to a light grey on the upper tail-coverts; forehead, streak over the eyes, face, throat, and all the underparts pure white, shading into grey on each side of the breast; quills and tail-feathers brownish black, the former greyish white on their inner webs. Irides dark reddish brown; bill black; legs and feet black, the webs yellowish. Total length 8 inches; wing, from flexure, 6; tail 3; bill, following the curvature of upper mandible ·65, length of lower mandible ·75; bare tibia ·85; tarsus 1·5; middle toe and claw 1·4.

Nestling. Covered with thick long down of a uniform grey colour.

Obs. Both sexes appear to be exactly alike. The Canterbury Museum contains several specimens, both male and female, from the Chatham Islands.

Individuals present a certain degree of variation. A specimen in the Otago Museum has the crown and upper surface generally blackish brown; underparts white; the former colour extending downwards in a broad band over both sides of the chest, but not meeting; face with a broad patch of slaty black covering the eyes, spreading over the ear-coverts, and merging in the dark chest-band; under tail-coverts bluish grey.

A specimen in the Auckland Museum (sent from Mokohinu Lighthouse) has the patch on the face conspicuously darker, and the interdigital webs pale yellow, with black edges, and a line of black between the inner and middle toe.

The White-faced Storm-Petrel appears to have a wide range over the southern ocean. It is not so plentiful, however, off the New-Zealand coast as the Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, although the habits of the two birds appear to be very much the same.

Mr. Gilbert discovered it building in some of the small islands lying off Cape Leuwin, in South Australia, in December; and he met with young birds almost ready to leave their holes, on East Wallaby Island, a month later. Its egg, of which I have obtained several specimens, is pure white, and measures 1·5 inch in length by 1·15 in breadth.