Magenta Petrel (Pterodroma magentae)

Magenta Petrel

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Pterodroma magentae | [authority] Giglioli and Salvadori, 1869 | [UK] Magenta Petrel | [FR] Petrel de Magenta | [DE] Magenta-Sturmvogel | [ES] Petrel Taiko | [NL] Magenta-stormvogel


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Pterodroma magentae PO s


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

Medium-sized, dark brownish-grey and white petrel. Mostly uniform brownish-grey head, neck, upper breast, upperparts, upperwing, tail. White lower breast, belly, undertail. Brown underwing, paler under primaries. Black bill. Pink legs. Feet pink proximally, black distally. Phoenix Petrel P. alba is smaller, more brown. Atlantic Petrel P. incerta is bulkier with brown undertail

wingspan min.: 100 cm wingspan max.: 104 cm
size min.: 38 cm size max.: 42 cm
incubation min.: 48 days incubation max.: 56 days
fledging min.: 85 days fledging max.: 95 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Pacific Ocean : South. Pterodroma magentae was rediscovered in 1978 in the south-east corner of Chatham Island, New Zealand, 111 years after it was first collected at sea


It breeds in a fragmented colony under dense forest, favors slopes and high ground. During non-breeding season pelagic.


It breeds in a fragmented colony under dense forest3, 4-6 km inland. Burrows are up to 5 m long and breeding takes place from September to May. Males occupy burrows for 1-3 years before pair formation and breeding; non-breeding females rarely visit the colony. Recent ringing returns show that males return to the colony aged 4-5 years, females at 6-9 years, and first breeding is attempted at around 10 years. The pairs form a life-long bond, one egg is laid per year, incubated by both parents for about 7-8 weeks. After 3 months the fledging chicks climb trees from which they launch themselves to fly out to sea.

Feeding habits

Little data, seesm to favor squid.


This species qualifies as Critically Endangered as it has undergone an extremely rapid historical decline over three generations (60 years). The ongoing declines appear to have ceased and the population is slowly recovering thanks to intensive conservation work, which may lead to the downlisting of this species in the future.
Magenta Petrel status Critically Endangered


Very little known. May disperse E over SC Pacific, perhaps reaching waters of Humboldt Current. During breeding, foraging range apparently to E or S in subantarctic waters.

Distribution map

Magenta Petrel distribution range map

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