WHITE-CHINNED PETREL

WHITE-CHINNED PETREL (Procellaria aequinoctialis)

The white-chinned petrel is about 22 inches long, is grey with a white bill and a small white patch at the chin. Petrels have a different type of bill, with tube noses and plates, which can be seen on some photos of petrels. The white-chinned petrel population has been declining due to commercial fishing operations, as they can be found scavenging around fishing boats. This is a sea bird, so it is rarely seen on land, except when breeding.

NOTES: Petrels are part of an order of birds that includes seabirds with a ‘tubenose’ bill. This highly specialized bill is made of plates and the nostrils are inside one of them in the shape of a ‘tube’. These birds drink seawater, and they have glands in their bill to extract the salt from the water. Their nostrils also have a self-defensive feature – when threatened they can spit out a foul-smelling oil from that organ.

White-chinned petrel with visible tube nose and plates - off Kaikoura Peninsula, NZ
White-chinned petrel with visible tube nose and plates – off Kaikoura Peninsula, NZ
White-chinned petrel - off Kaikoura - NZ
White-chinned petrel – off Kaikoura Peninsula, NZ

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