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The Herald petrel (Pterodroma heraldica) is a species of seabird and a member of the gadfly petrels. The bird is 35–39 cm (14–15 in) in size, with an 88–102 cm (35–40 in) wingspan.

Herald petrel
Plate 67 from Godman's 'Monograph of the Petrels.'
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Procellariidae
Genus: Pterodroma
P. heraldica
Binomial name
Pterodroma heraldica
Salvin, 1888

The petrel has various color morphs: dark and light, as well as intermediates between the two. Found primarily in the south Pacific, it has been seen in Hawaii. It nests on oceanic islands and atolls, on cliff ledges, ridges or rocky slopes. On some islands, nesting birds are threatened by feral cats and rats.

Due to ongoing habitat loss and small breeding range, this species is evaluated as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

In May 2007, a herald petrel tagged on Raine Island in 1984 was observed off the coast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. This greatly increases the known life span and range of the species.[2]

Also it was recently identified as this species, from what was previously an unidentified Pterodroma species, to be breeding on Round Island, 22 kilometers north of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean.[3]

In August 2017, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) staff confirmed a herald petrel chick had hatched on Raine Island after sighting an adult herald petrel taking care of a single egg in a nest in June 2017.[4] The sighted chick was the first time a herald petrel was seen to breed in 30 years.[4] Raine Island is the only known Herald petrel breeding site in Australia.[4]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2016). "Pterodroma heraldica". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2016: e.T22698012A93654160. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22698012A93654160.en. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  2. ^ James, David.J; McAllan, Ian A.W. (2014). "The birds of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean: A review" (PDF). Australian Field Ornithology. 31 (supplement): S46–S47. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
  3. ^ Brown, R. M.; Jordan, W. C. (2009). "Characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci from Round Island Petrels (Pterodroma arminjoniana) and their utility in other seabird species". Journal of Ornithology. 150: 925–929. doi:10.1007/s10336-009-0411-5.
  4. ^ a b c "Endangered seabird discovery on Raine Island breaks 30 year record". The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory. 24 October 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  • Seabirds, an Identification Guide by Peter Harrison, (1983) ISBN 0-7470-1410-8
  • Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol 1, Josep del Hoyo editor, ISBN 84-87334-10-5
  • "National Audubon Society" The Sibley Guide to Birds, by David Allen Sibley, ISBN 0-679-45122-6

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