Birds Trip

Gadfly petrels (Pterodroma) are highly pelagic and rarely are encountered within 50 km or so of shore. None breed in Peru. Some are reported only from westernmost fringes of Peruvian waters. Several other species of central Pacific, not yet reported from Peru, also may occur in this region, at least occasionally; consult seabird literature for more discussion of these species. Pterodroma have a distinctive flight style, often soaring high above water before dropping down again. Plumage differences between species can be subtle; be prepared to leave some individuals unidentified. “Cookilaria” group (Cook’s, Masatierra, and Stejneger’s petrels) are relatively small, short-tailed, and short-winged compared to other Pterodroma


Birds Trip:

JUAN FERNANDEZ PETREL Pterodroma externa 43 cm (17 in); ws 95 cm (37 in) Status not well known; reported only from sight records, primarily Apr–May (following breeding off 1 coast of Chile, Dec–Mar), but presumably occurs again in southbound passage (Oct–Nov?). Significantly larger and long-winged than “Cookilaria” petrels with stronger, more buoyant flight. Tail all dark, and often shows narrow white band on rump. Some have variably pale collars on nape, separating blackish crown from gray back. Bill heavy; underwings extensively white. Ch
KERMADEC PETREL Pterodroma neglecta ] * 38 cm (15 in); ws 92 cm (36 in) Status not well known, but apparently is regular far out at sea, Mar–Nov; only reported from sight 2 records. Polymorphic; dark morphs are most frequent in Peru, although intermediate morph also has been reported. Dark plumage, white flash at base of primaries and strong flight lend superficial similarity to jaegers. White bases of primaries are particularly prominent from below. Rarely darkmorph individuals may lack white feather bases but always show white feather shafts. Br, Ch 3
MASATIERRA (De Filippi’s) PETREL Pterodroma defilippiana 26 cm (10 ⁄4 in); ws 66 cm (26 in)
Status, distribution, and seasonality not well known, due in part to confusion with very similar Cook’s Petrel; recorded Apr–Oct. Slightly larger than Cook’s with thicker bill (only apparent at close range). Note more extensive gray partial collar on sides of breast, which sets off intrusion of white below and behind eye smudge (a feature lacking in Cook’s). Dark eye smudge also larger than in Cook’s. Tip of tail usually pale (always dark in Cook’s, but also may be dark in some Masatierra). May appear broader-winged than Cook’s. Sometimes (especially when worn?) may appear to have dusky crown and nape; cf. Stejneger’s Petrel. Adults may begin wing molt Oct–Nov; Cook’s primarily molts Mar–Aug. Ch
COOK’S PETREL Pterodroma cookii 26 cm (10 ⁄4 in); ws 66 cm (26 in) Primarily present June–Oct, but status, distribution, and seasonality poorly known due to great 41 similarity to Masatierra Petrel. Both are small Pterodroma, light gray above with distinct “M”-shaped pattern across mantle, and have light gray crowns, with black smudge around eyes. Cook’s lacks gray neck collar of Masatierra; black eye smudge is smaller; and bill is thinner, more delicate. Cook’s may look thinner-winged and shorter-tailed. Always has narrow dark tip to tail (tail of Masatierra may be tipped black but usually all gray). Little or no overlap in timing of wing molt. Sometimes (especially when worn?) may appear to have dusky crown and nape; cf. Stejneger’s Petrel. Ch [
STEINER’S PETREL Pterodroma longirostris] 26 cm (10 ⁄4 in); ws 66 cm (26 in) No confirmed record, but may be expected (breeds Dec–Mar on Masatierra Island off Chile). 1 Similar to Cook’s and Masatierra petrels, but white forehead contrasts with dusky crown. Worn Cook’s and Masatierra may appear black-crowned; carefully note forehead pattern. Partial collar to sides of breast is darker, but less extensive, than half-collar of Masatierra. Dorsal surface of primaries of Stejneger’s also is blacker. Bill thinner, longer than bill of Masatierra. Cf. also Juan Fernandez Petrel, which is larger with longer wings and often has narrow white rump. Ch 5
GALAPAGOS PETREL Pterodroma phaeopygia 43 cm (17 in); ws 91 cm (36 in) Regular nonbreeding migrant (Sept–Feb) to northern waters. Relatively large, long-winged petrel. Note blackish crown and sides of face, dark upperparts, and white forehead. Superficially similar to Stejneger’s and Juan Fernandez petrels but lacks prominent “M” pattern on mantle. Black crown and nape form an extensive “shawl” from head to upper breast (with no white intrusion behind auriculars), and has more extensive carpal bar on underwings. Also, bill heavy, and tail relatively long. Co, E



Shearwaters are pelagic seabirds that glide low over the water, with wings held stiffly outstretched; none breed in Peru. Species on this plate are small to medium-sized, with white underparts; rarely seen from shore. The diving-petrel is a small seabird of inshore waters.  [
WEDGE-TAILED SHEARWATER Puffinus pacificus ] 41–46 cm (16–18 in); ws 97–104 cm
(38–41 in) Rare; known only from a few sight records far off of Piura. Polymorphic; all records are of light morph, but dark morph (not illustrated) also exists. Wedge shape to tail difficult to notice (except when tail is fanned) but contributes to long-tailed appearance. Light morph similar to Pink-footed Shearwater, but Wedge-tailed has more extensively white underwings, flanks, and throat; more slender build (accentuated by long tail); and thinner, dingy-colored bill. Dark morph is entirely dark; resembles Flesh-footed Shearwater but is more slender and longer-tailed, and has slim, dingy-colored bill. Co, E
SOUTHERN FULMAR Fulmarus glacialoides 46–50 cm (18–20 in); ws 114–120 cm (45–47 in)
Rare to uncommon visitor; abundance may vary from year to year, and probably more regular in
1 south. Primarily present Jul–Oct. Medium-sized, with stocky neck and relatively broad, blunt wings.
Very pale gray above and white below. Superficially similar to a large gull but has typical stiff-winged
shearwater flight profile. Note dark-tipped pink bill and white bases to primaries on upper surface
of wing. E, Br, Ch
BULLER’S SHEARWATER Puffinus bulleri 46 cm (18 in); ws 97 cm (38 in) Uncommon; probably primarily present Nov–May. Long tail and narrow wings impart a slender 2 appearance. Readily identifiable by white underparts, extensively white underwing coverts, and prominent black “M” pattern across wings and back. Superficially similar to some Pterodroma petrels (such as Juan Fernandez Petrel), but does not have well-defined white forecrown, and underwings lack dark carpal mark. E, Ch
PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER Puffinus creatopus 48 cm (19 in); ws 109 cm (43 in) Fairly common migrant, primarily Mar–Nov; the most numerous white-bellied shearwater. Large, 3 relatively stout with short broad tail. Bill light pink with dark tip. Underwing coverts often white; but variably clouded and may be largely dark. Throat and sides of neck freckled with brown, and flanks are variably mottled brown (other white-bellied shearwaters have clean white throats and white flanks). Co, E, Ch
GRAY PETREL Procellaria cinerea 48 cm (19 in); ws 117–127 cm (46–50 in) Status unclear. A few undocumented sight records and 2 skulls found on beaches (reportedly of this species; identifications should be confirmed); possibly does not occur (rare in Chile, where only reported from far south). Long, narrow wings may impart similarity in flight to much larger albatrosses. Note generally dark upperparts, and dark underwings that contrast with white underparts (other large white-bellied shearwaters have largely white underwings). Bill also is yellowish. Br, Ch [
GALAPAGOS SHEARWATER Puffinus subalaris ] 29–30.5 cm (11 ⁄2 –12 in); ws 69 cm (27 in) Status not clear; a few undocumented sight records off northern and central Peru. Associated with 1 warm water. Very similar to Little and Manx shearwaters, but undertail coverts black (not white). Also browner (less blackish) above, with broader dark margins to underwings. Bill longer than bill of Little; tarsi typically pinkish. Sightings should be extensively documented. Co, E [
LITTLE SHEARWATER Puffinus assimilis ] * 25–30 cm (10–12 in); ws 58–67 cm (23–26 in) Status unclear; a few undocumented sight records off central and southern coast (May–Aug). Associated with cold water. Very small black-and-white shearwater, with relatively short, blunttipped wings. Flight characterized by rapid wingbeats with little gliding. Often shows narrow pale panel on greater wing coverts. [Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus; not illustrated), not known from Peru, is potential vagrant to south. Very similar to Little, and also has all-white undertail coverts; but slightly larger with pinkish tarsi and toes (typically light blue or bluish gray in Little). Also, wings are less rounded, underwing coverts more clouded, and upperparts more uniformly dark.] Sightings of Little or Manx should be extensively documented. Cf. also Galapagos Shearwater. Br, Ch 4
PERUVIAN DIVING-PETREL Pelecanoides garnotii 20–24 cm (8–9 1 ⁄2 in) Rare and seriously declining resident. Small, chunky, gray and white seabird. Often seen as singles or small groups resting on water, or flying away with very rapid, whirring wingbeats; does not soar or glide. Ch


Cape Petrel has a very distinctive black-and-white pattern. The other species on this plate are large, darkbellied shearwaters. Procellaria are stockier than Puffinus shearwaters and have a deeper-chested appearance. They also have larger heads, stouter bills, and tails are relatively short, and slightly graduated; the toes may extend beyond the tail tip in flight.
CAPE PETREL Daption capense * 38–40 cm (15–16 in); ws 81–91 cm (32–36 in) Fairly common off southern and central Peru, less common in far north. May occur throughout year,1 but probably most numerous June–Sept. Medium-sized and built somewhat like Southern Fulmar: rather stout, with thick neck and broad wings. Distinctive dark throat and “pied” pattern on upperparts. White bases to primaries, and white patch on inner wing, are prominent on upper surface. Also note broad white tail with dark terminal band. Underparts largely white, contrasting with dark head and throat. Co, E, Br, Ch

FLESH-FOOTED SHEARWATER Puffinus carneipes ] 41–45 cm (16–18 in); ws 99–106 cm (39–42 in) Status not certain, but perhaps a very rare visitor; known only from a few undocumented sight records off northern and central Peru. Larger and broader-winged than Sooty Shearwater, with dark
underwing coverts. Pink bill (with small dark tip) often visible at a distance; tarsi also pink but difficult to see under most field conditions. Cf. also dark morph of Wedge-tailed Shearwater (not yet reported from Peru). Most Procellaria petrels are larger and bulkier, with relatively shorter wings and tails, dark tarsi, and deeper, yellower bills; but cf. Parkinson’s, which is close to Flesh-footed in size. Ch
SOOTY SHEARWATER Puffinus griseus 40–46 cm (16–18 in); ws 94–104 cm (37–41 in) Perhaps the most abundant shearwater in Peru, and one of the species most likely to be seen from 2 shore. Often seen in large flocks. Found throughout the year, but most numerous May–Oct. Medium-sized, with narrow wings and rapid wingbeats. Largely sooty brown; underwing coverts silvery white, but this sometimes is difficult to see in the field (depending on distance and light conditions). Bill black. Co, E, Br, Ch 3
WHITE-CHINNED PETREL Procellaria aequinoctialis 51–58 cm (20–23 in); ws 134–147 cm (53–58 in) Uncommon, but the most widespread Procellaria in Peru; probably found throughout the year. Superficially similar to Sooty Shearwater but larger, broader-winged, and with dark underwing coverts. Also note heavier bill, which is yellowish (narrowly etched with dusky) with pale tip. Usually has white chin, although rarely visible in the field, and in some individuals (subadults?) may be represented by no more than a few white feathers. E, Br, Ch
WESTLAND PETREL Procellaria westlandica ] 51 cm (20 in); ws 137 cm (54 in) Status not certain (and confirmation of occurrence in Peru highly desirable). Known only from a few sight records from off Piura, but probably also occurs (more regularly?) off southern Peru (apparently occurs regularly off coast of Chile). Usually distinguished from White-chinned Petrel by dark tip to bill, and more extensively dusky on nasal tube; chin also all dark. Apparently a small minority (ca. 1%?) of White-chinneds have some dusky on the tip of the bill; carefully check details of bill pattern and chin color. Typically undergoes molt during austral spring and summer (Oct–Mar); little overlap in timing of wing molt with White-chinned (Feb–Aug). Larger than Parkinson’s Petrel, with relatively larger head and neck, and shorter, broader wings. Ch 4
PARKINSON’S (Black) PETREL Procellaria parkinsoni 46–47 cm 18–18 ⁄2 in); ws 115 cm (45 in)
Primarily known from northern waters, but distribution not well known and may occur farther south. Very similar to White-chinned Petrel, but smaller and looks less “heavy” in flight; also has relatively longer, narrower wings. Primarily differs by yellow bill with dark tip. Lacks white throat spot. Cf. also larger Westland Petrel; Parkinson’s is less stocky, with relatively smaller, more rounded head and has longer, narrower wings. At rest, wings project farther beyond tail tip. Often associates with cetaceans and may follow pods of small whales for long distances. E


Prions (Pachyptila) are very small shearwaters that fly low over the water. Note small size, pale color and narrow “M” pattern across upperparts. Species are very similar to one another; best distinguished in the hand by bill size and shape, features that are difficult to determine accurately in the field. Storm-Petrels are very small pelagic seabirds that fly low over the water. Plumage differences often are subtle. Other than Ringed, species on this plate are rare or geographically restricted, nonbreeding visitors. 1
DOVE (Antarctic) PRION Pachyptila desolata 27 cm (101⁄2in); ws 61 cm (24 in)Status poorly known; most records are of carcasses found dead on beach, Jun–Aug, but presumably occurs at sea as well. Can be difficult to distinguish from Slender-billed Prion. Bill deeper and broader than in Slender-billed, but this is difficult to gauge in the field. Dove has duskier face with narrower white superciliary, more prominent black band at tip of tail, and blacker “M” pattern across back and wings. Flight also is less acrobatic. Br, Ch 2
SLENDER-BILLED (Thin-billed) PRION Pachyptila belcheri 26 cm (10 ⁄4 in); ws 56 cm (22 in) Uncommon, primarily present Jun–Aug, but abundance variable from year to year. Most widespread
and usually most common prion. Has thin, narrow bill, but this rarely is helpful in the field. Distinguish with care from Dove Prion by broader white superciliary, less contrasting dark “M” across wings and back, and (on average) less extensive black on tip of tail (black often not reaching outer rectrices). Br, Ch
BROAD-BILLED PRION Pachyptila vittata 25–30 cm (10–12 in); ws 57–66 cm (22 ⁄2–26 in) Known from a single beached carcass (Arequipa); not regularly found in waters off Pacific coast of South America, and so not expected to recur. Relatively large prion with very large, blackish bill. Head dark, with no strong face pattern. Also may show gray partial collar on sides of breast. Br
RINGED (Hornby’s) STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma hornbyi 21–23 cm (8–9 in) Resident and presumably breeds, but nest remains unknown. Occasionally found well inland, far 3 from the ocean, prompting speculation that breeding sites are in coastal deserts or hills (and not on islands, where most other storm-petrels breed). Relatively large with distinctive plumage. Tail is long and deeply notched. Wingbeats slow, interspersed with glides. Co, E, Ch
WHITE-BELLIED STORM-PETREL Fregetta grallaria ] * 20 cm (8 in); ws 46 cm (18 in) Reported only from undocumented sight records; probably more regular in occurrence far at sea (outside of Peruvian waters?), especially in south. Medium-sized, relatively robust storm-petrel. This and Black-bellied Storm-Petrel are only white-rumped species with white belly and underwing coverts; other species with white rumps are entirely dark below. Both fly very low, dangling legs and hitting the water with breast, then bouncing clear. They are extremely similar to one another and difficult to distinguish in the field. Belly of White-bellied is entirely white; Black-bellied has narrow dark stripe down center of belly (which can be difficult to see). Also, White-bellied has shorter tarsi (do not project beyond the tail in flight) and paler upperparts, with more prominent pale bar on greater coverts. Underwing coverts of White-bellied also whiter, and border to dark hood straighter. Br, Ch
BLACK-BELLIED STORM-PETREL Fregetta tropica * 20 cm (8 in); ws 46 cm (18 in) Known from a single specimen off central Peru. Cf. extremely similar White-bellied Storm-Petrel (also rare in Peru). Br, Ch 4
WHITE-FACED STORM-PETREL Pelagodroma marina * 18–21 cm (7–8 in); ws 42–43 cm (16–17 in)
Status not clear, but perhaps a regular but uncommon visitor far off coast. A large, gray-and-white storm-petrel with very long tarsi (extend beyond the tail in flight). Note distinctive dark mask and broad white superciliary. Cf. Ringed Storm-Petrel. E, Br, Ch
LEAST STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma microsoma 14–15 cm (5111⁄2–6 in); ws 32 cm (12⁄2in) Rare off the northern coast (Nov–Mar). Very small, with relatively short tail. All dark, except for 5 pale bar along upperwing surface. Due to dark color and short tail, can resemble a small bat flying low and direct over water. Much smaller than Markham’s and Black storm-petrels, with wedgeshaped (not forked) tail. Co, E


Species on this plate are dark-bellied storm-petrels, most of which also have white rumps. Plumage
differences often are subtle; identification also depends upon overall structure and on flight behavior.1
WILSON’S STORM-PETREL Oceanites oceanicus * 15–19 cm (6–8 in); ws 38–42 cm (15–16⁄2 in) This and the similar White-vented are the most common and widespread storm-petrels. Probably 1 present throughout year, but most numerous during austral winter. Associated with cold water. Forages while “pattering” over water, dangling feet; otherwise flight is low and rapid but relatively direct. Both Oceanites species hold wing relatively straight; cf. more strongly arced profiles of Oceanodroma species. In Oceanites toes may extend beyond tail in flight; no Oceanodroma shows this. Webbing between toes in Wilson’s is yellow; diagnostic but rarely seen (webbing dark in similar
species). Cf. other white-rumped storm-petrels (especially White-vented). E, Br, Ch 2
WHITE-VENTED (Elliot’s) STORM-PETREL Oceanites gracilis * 15–16 cm (6–6⁄2 in); ws 40 cm (16 in) Very similar to Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, and with similar association with cold waters, but is fairly common resident (though very few breeding sites are known). Slightly smaller than Wilson’s. Small white patch on lower belly diagnostic but difficult to see. Also has pale area on underwings (lacking in Wilson’s), and white rump is slightly narrower. Flight similar to Wilson’s, but perhaps somewhat more erratic. Co, E, Ch 3
WEDGE-RUMPED STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma tethys * 18–20 cm (7–8 in); ws 45 cm (18 in) Fairly common resident and local breeder, but highly pelagic and rarely seen close to shore. Small,
with white rump and lower flanks. Very long white uppertail coverts almost completely cover tail,
forming much larger white rump patch than in other species. Also note that front edge of rump
patch is very straight, rather than gently curved as in Wilson’s and White-vented storm-petrels. In
the hand, note narrow dark shafts to white feathers of rump. Co, E, Ch [
BAND-RUMPED STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma castro ] 20–21.5 cm (8–8 ⁄2 in) Known only from a few sight records, far off northern coast, where may be regular visitor. Large, dark, with white rump and lower flanks. Flies with deep, quick wingbeats, often interspersed with glides; usually quite unlike the erratic, bounding flight of Leach’s Storm-Petrel. Also differs from Leach’s by uninterrupted white rump band and extension of white onto flanks. Further distinguished with care from Oceanites species by shorter tarsi, wing shape, and flight behavior. In the hand, note blackish tips to feathers of white rump band. Co, E 4
LEACH’S STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma leucorhoa * 19–22 cm (71⁄2–8⁄2in); ws 45–48 cm (18–19 in) A regular nonbreeding visitor to waters far off coast of northern and central Peru. Variable, with both dark- and white-rumped populations; all Peru records are of white-rumped individuals. Large, dark, with deep wingbeats, bounding, erratic flight, and large, prominent pale bar on upperwing surface. Little or no extension of white rump onto lower flanks. Tail is more deeply notched than in other white-rumped storm-petrels, and the white rump band is narrowly divided in middle (often visible in the field). E
MARKHAM’S STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma markhami 23 cm (9 in); ws 50 cm (19 in) Resident and local breeder. Large, dark, with prominent pale bars on upper surface of wing and long, 5 notched tail. Flies with deep wingbeats, interrupted by relatively long glides. Much larger than the geographically restricted Least Storm-Petrel. See Black Storm-Petrel for distinctions from that species. Co, E, Ch 6
BLACK STORM-PETREL Oceanodroma melania 21.5–23 cm (8⁄2–9 in); ws 46–51 cm(18–20 in) 1 Regular migrant to waters off northern and central Peru, primarily Sep–Apr. Large, all-dark, very similar to Markham’s Storm-Petrel, and difficult to distinguish by observers not very familiar with one or both species. Compared to Markham’s, has narrower and less prominent pale bar on upper surface of wing and slightly shallower notch to the tail, and is overall blacker (less sooty brown). Flight is deliberate with deep wingbeats interspersed with short glides. Co, E

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