Bulwers Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii)

Bulwers Petrel

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Bulweria bulwerii | [authority] Jardine and Selby, 1828 | [UK] Bulwers Petrel | [FR] Petrel de Bulwer | [DE] Bulwer-Sturmvogel | [ES] Petrel de Bulwer | [NL] Bulwers Stormvogel


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Bulweria bulwerii TrO, TO widespread


The Bulweria Petrels comprise only two species that rather closely related to the fulmarine petrels. Both are dark brown birds. Bulweria is represented in the three major oceans by the Bulwer’s Petrel. The larger but otherwise similar Jouanin’s Petrel is restricted to the Indian Ocean.

Physical charateristics

Small petrel (L 26 cm) with rose legs, long tail and dark plumage uniform, except for a paler bar. Rough nests are made in burrows, which may be excavated in the ground or may be already exists as crevices in walls or rocks. Bulwer’s Petrel is a pelagic seabird feeding on the surface off squid, plankton and small fish. Migrant.

Listen to the sound of Bulwers Petrel

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/PROCELLARIIFORMES/Procellariidae/sounds/Bulwers Petrel.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Steve Gantlett

wingspan min.: 78 cm wingspan max.: 90 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 29 cm
incubation min.: 42 days incubation max.: 46 days
fledging min.: 60 days fledging max.: 46 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Tropical Ocean, Temperate Ocean : widespread. Bulwer’s Petrel is pantropical, being found in all three oceans outside the breeding season. Breeding sites include the eastern Atlantic from the Azores, Pacific Oceanrtugal to Cape Verde, and the Pacific from eastern China and the Bonin Islands (Japan), east to the Hawaiian Islands (USA), and the Marquesas Islands (French Pacific Oceanlynesia)


Within warm oceanic sector in west Palearctic. Breeds often near sea-level in small holes and crevices under large boulders or talus, but also at higher elevations. Apparently not in burrows, but sometimes in holes in walls. Intense competition often restricts it to openings too small for Cory?s Shearwater.


In rock scree, cliffs, or stone walls. Usually colonial; nests from 1 to several metres apart, but solitary nests also found. Nest: natural hole in rock or scree, up to 1 m deep. Building: no excavation.

Feeding habits

Mainly plankton such as fish eggs, ctenophores, and polychaete worms. Almost entirely nocturnal feeder.

Video Bulwers Petrel


copyright: P. Fraser


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
This pelagic bird of the North Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean is breeding at Madeira, on the Azores and on the Canary Islands. Its European population amounts to about 7500 -10500 breeding pairs. Its most important colonies are located on Madeira where the species seems to be stable. The breeding colonies of the Canary Islands and the Azores are decreasing however
Bulwers Petrel status Least Concern


Mostly absent from breeding grounds Sept/Oct-Mar. Disperses over tropical and subtropical waters: Pacific birds probably move into C and E Pacific, and also Indian Ocean, W to Maldives; Atlantic birds mostly move into W and S Atlantic, few reaching South Africa. Vagrant to Australia, British Isles and W Mediterranean.

Distribution map

Bulwers Petrel distribution range map


Title Olfactory foraging strategies of procellariiform seabirds
Author(s): Gabrielle A. Nevitt
Abstract: The study of olfactory foraging ability in procell..[more]..
Source: Acta Zoologica Sinica 52(Supplement): 510-513, 2006

download full text (pdf)

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