Bulwer’s Petrels (Bulweria bulwerii)

The Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) is a small petrel that was named after the Scottish naturalist James Bulwer.

Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) - roosting in the sea wall, which is why everything looks orange-rust

Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) - Scurrying around in rocks near the coastguard landfill. Tern Island, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Distribution / Range

Bulwer’s Petrel breed in the north Atlantic in colonies on islands in the Cape Verde Islands, Azores, Canary Islands and Madeira groups; as well as on islands across the north Pacific from east of China to Hawaii.

After the breeding season, they spend the rest of the year at sea – mainly in tropical waters.

This species has been recorded in Europe as a rare vagrant to Ireland, Great Britain, Portugal and the Netherlands. It has also appeared as a vagrant in North America, with rare sightings far off the coast of both California and North Carolina.

Bulwer’s Petrel (Bulweria bulwerii)


This very long-winged petrel measures 25-29 cm in length (including its long, pointed tail) and has a 78-90 cm wingspan.

Its plumage is mostly brown.

Diet / Feeding

It mostly feeds on planktonic food items picked from the ocean surface.

Photo of author

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