De Filippis Petrel (Pterodroma defilippiana)

De Filippis Petrel

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Pterodroma defilippiana | [authority] Giglioli and Salvadori, 1869 | [UK] De Filippis Petrel | [FR] Petrel de Defilippe | [DE] Juan-Fernandez-Sturmvogel | [ES] Petrel Chileno | [NL] Juan Fernandezstormvogel


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Pterodroma defilippiana PO e


Genus Pterodroma, Pseudobulweria and Aphrodroma are also knwon as the Gadfly Petrels. They vary in size from rather small birds such as the Cookilaria-species, measuring about 26 cm, to the much larger and robust representatives of this group like the White-headed Petrel with an overall length of about 43 cm. Their plumages also vary a great deal from species to species; from completely black to light grey mantles and pure white bellies, and with different color phases within species. One feature shared by all of them is the black bill of which the shape also shows much variation. Some species are extremely rare and restricted to a very limited area, other are abundant and wander widely or have unknown pelagic ranges.
The group of the Gadfly Petrels counts over 35 species, mainly from the Southern Hemisphere. There are three genera: Pterodroma with about 30 species, Pseudobulweria counting four and Aphrodroma with only one. Many authors have tried to classify the large number of species of this group and to determine their relationships. This has resulted in a division in several subgenera and the grouping of several species which are considered to have a more or less close relationship. The taxonomic discussion has not come to an end yet: new species have been added or split recently and probably will be in the near future.

Physical charateristics

Small, typical “M” marked gadfly petrel. Dark grey upperparts with sharp “M” mark. White forehead but dark grey cap and mask, extending to grey half-collar on upper breast. Dark grey rump and uppertail-coverts. Paler outer tail feathers. White throat and lower chest/belly. Predominantly white underwing, but black tip and narrow trailing edge, extending to leading edge. Similar spp. Separated from most other small gadfly petrels by whiter underwing. Cook’s Petrel P. cookii has shorter and thinner bill and shorter tail. Stejneger’s Petrel P. longirostris has paler crown and nape, and lacks darker central tail feathers. Pycroft’s Petrel P. pycrofti is possibly inseparable, but ranges may not overlap

wingspan min.: 65 cm wingspan max.: 67 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 27 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  


Pacific Ocean : East. Pterodroma defilippiana is an east Pacific seabird, currently breeding on three or four islands off the coast of Chile. In the Des Venturadas Islands, 10,000 or more birds occurred on San Ambrosio in 1970, with an additional 150-200 pairs on San Felix. In the Juan Fernandez Islands, it has possibly been extirpated on Robinson Crusoe, and the Pacific Ocean population on Santa Clara was suggested at hundreds, Pacific possibly thousands, in 1986, but available habitat was found for only 100-200 individuals in 1991. It ranges at sea in the nearby Peru Current, south of the equator


Highly pelagic, breeds on cliffs of remote islands. Uses also cervices and amongst boulders.


It breeds on sheltered cliff-ledges, crevices, caverns and amongst boulders at the foot of lava cliffs. It nests colonially, with eggs apparently laid July-September, chicks hatching in October and colonies abandoned in December-January. However, it has been reported breeding in February on San Felix. Nest sometimes lined with sticks, visits colonies at daytime.

Feeding habits

No data.

Video De Filippis Petrel


copyright: Peter Fraser


This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a very small breeding range at three or four locations, and is therefore susceptible to stochastic events or human impacts. It is likely to have been extirpated from one island some time ago, but the bulk of the population is presumably stable.
De Filippis Petrel status Vulnerable


Little known

Distribution map

De Filippis Petrel distribution range map

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