IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

The white-chinned petrel is one of the largest burrowing petrels, which build large, cavernous burrows, in which to lay their eggs. The breeding burrows can be up to 2 m long, and are often entered via a small pool, whilst the nest chamber houses a raised, dry platform of earth and vegetation (4) (6). These burrows are built in colonies, and when the breeding season starts in October, only one egg is laid. The egg is incubated intermittently for 57 – 62 days as the parent will often leave the egg for a couple of days to forage (2) (7). The dark brown downy chicks, which are left unguarded in the burrow from a very young age, will fledge after 87 – 106 days (2) (7). White-chinned petrels can live for over 30 years, and during this time they are very faithful to their breeding sites, returning to the same location, and even the same burrow, year after year (7). When not breeding, they forage out over the ocean, feeding during the night on cephalopods, crustaceans and fish (2). They most frequently feed by sitting on the water and seizing prey with their bill, but can also dive into the ocean, propelling themselves with their powerful wings, reaching depths of up to 10 meters (2) (6). White-chinned petrels are wily eaters; they range more widely than some other seabirds when searching for food, to avoid competition (5), and also can be seen congregating around fishing vessels where they scavenge waste for an easy meal (2).

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© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

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