Cape Petrel

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Common Name: Cape Petrel
Scientific Name: Daption capense

Size: 15-16 inches (38-40 cm)

Habitat: Southern Hemisphere; Cape Petrels breed on numerous islands surrounding Antarctica. A few pairs nest as far north as New Zealand's Auckland Islands, the Chatham Islands and Campbell Island; the majority of the species nest further south. The species' stronghold is on the Antarctic Peninsula and the islands of the Scotia Sea. They also breed on other sites on the Antarctic mainland, as well as South Georgia, the Balleny Islands, and Kerguelen Island.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 2,000,000 mature individuals.

Diet: Euphausiid shrimp and other crustaceans make up 4/5 on their diet ; they will also eat fish and squid usually by following fishing boats. They get their prey by seizing from the ocean surface and by plunging under the water and filtering the seawater.

Nesting: They are colonial, nesting on rocky cliffs or on level rocky ground no further than a km from the sea. The nests are simple and are usually placed under an overhanging rock for protection. A single egg is laid in mid to late November and incubated for around 45 days. Both parents take shifts of several days incubating the egg, with the male shifts on average lasting a day longer. Like fulmars Cape Petrels will aggressively defend their nesting site by ejecting stomach oil at intruders; skuas in particular will prey on Cape Petrel eggs and chicks. Once hatched the chick is brooded for 10 days until it is able to thermoregulate, after which both parents hunt at sea to feed it. Cape Petrel chicks fledge after around 45 days.

Cool Facts: The plumage pattern of the Cape Petrel is unique amongst its species family. Their habit of pecking at the water to seize prey is the origin of one of their common names, the “Cape Pigeon”.

Found in Songbird ReMix Seabirds 1

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