Peruvian Diving-petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii)

Peruvian Diving-petrel

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Pelecanoididae | [latin] Pelecanoides garnotii | [authority] Lesson, 1828 | [UK] Peruvian Diving-petrel | [FR] Puffinure de Garnot | [DE] Garnot-Lummensturmvogel | [ES] Potoyunco Peruano | [NL] Chileens Alkstormvogeltje


Monotypic species


The genus Pelecanoides is a peculiar group of small petrels form the Southern Hemisphere. In appearance and superficially similar tot the Little Auk or Dovekie from the North, but not related. The phylogeny of the Diving Petrels is not much investigated yet. Garnotti diverged from ll other tubenoses about 45.8 My ago, later followed by the divergence of urninatrix some 25.5 My ago. From this lineage georgicus and magellanicus diverged about 18.6 My ago. Diving Petrels are confined to the Southern Hemisphere. The Peruvian Diving Petrel is a bird of the South American west coast along the coast of Peru and Northern Chile. The distribution of the Magellanic Diving Petrel is limited around southern Patagonia and South-Gerogian is an endemic to the island it was named after. Only the six subspecies of the Common Diving Petrel can be found around the globe in subantarctic zone. As the name says, Diving Petrels are very capable divers and fourage on small euphausids and copepods. Although they look very similar to the smallest Alcids, Diving Petrels use the typical tubenose propulsion techniques: combinend use of wings and feet, where Alcids use only wings for propulsion. Diving Petrels can reach depths of 60 m (urinatrix) tot 80 m (garnotti). The flight of Diving Petrels is mainly by fast flapping, whirring wings, reminsicent to the flight of a bumblebee (Onley & Scofield 2007). Like other petrels all Diving Petrels are not very good walkers.

Physical charateristics

Small plump, black-and-white petrel that flies low and fast on whirring wings. Mostly blackish above and dull white below, with white tips to scapulars forming pale stripe. Browner face and sides to neck. Dusky sides to breast. Magellanic Diving-petrel P. magellani has white fringes to upperpart feathers and characteristic white half-collar extending from throat behind eye to rear of crown.

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 20 cm size max.: 24 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


South America : West coast. Pelecanoides garnotii formerly bred on offshore islands from Isla Lobos de Tierra, Peru, to Isla Chiloe, Chile.


It excavates deep burrows in thick guano for nesting, but may also burrow in sandy soils or use natural rock-crevices. In the non-breeding season, it occurs close to breeding islands in the rich upwelling waters of the Humboldt Current


breed year round, laying a single egg in a burrow dug into guano.

Feeding habits

In Peru, it feeds, even in heavily fished areas, on small crustaceans and small fish (mostly larvae). At La Vieja Island, Peru, Peruvian anchovy Engraulis ringens (33.9%), the small krill Euphausia mucronata (26.8%) and squat lobster Pleuroncodes monodon (24.3%) were the most important prey species. High monthly variability in the main prey suggests an opportunistic feeding behaviour associated with prey avaliability.

Video Peruvian Diving-petrel


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has an extremely small occupied breeding range on four islands. All subpopulations are declining and some rapidly. It consequently qualifies as Endangered.
Guano extraction is probably responsible for the massive historical declines. La Vieja is still harvested every 5-7 years, when the species is also exploited for food, but extraction and hunting are probably most significant on San Gallan. It has been extirpated by introduced predators on Chaaral (foxes), and probably San Lorenzo and El Fronton (rats and cats). There are dogs on San Gallan and possibly rats on the Chilean breeding islands. Such predators probably prevent recolonisations. Heavy commercial fishing reduces food availability and causes mortality through incidental bycatch.
Peruvian Diving-petrel status Endangered


Disperses mainly over adjacent waters of Humboldt Current, regularly occurring S to 42 dergrees C.

Distribution map

Peruvian Diving-petrel distribution range map

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