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The Fea's Petrel is recognized as a unique and captivating seabird species. It holds a host of fascinating characteristics that attract bird watchers and nature aficionados. This bird is identified by its peculiar wing shape and dark brown plumage, which is dramatically offset by a vivid white underbelly.

The Fea's Petrel has a striking appearance, characterized by its iridescent feather colors and adept diving capabilities. These traits add to its compelling appeal. However, it's not only the physical traits of the Fea's Petrel that draw attention. Its social feeding habits and melodious seabird calls offer valuable insights into its behavioral and communication patterns.

Information about the Fea's Petrel also includes details about its breeding grounds, survival challenges, and the ongoing attempts to conserve this vulnerable species.

Fea's Petrel – Rare Seabird

rare seabird fea s petrel

The Fea's Petrel is a rare seabird. The bird is characterized by its unique dark plumage, long, angular wings, and its fascinating aerial displays during the nighttime.

This bird falls under the category of a typical gadfly petrel, having smaller dimensions compared to the Cory's shearwater. Its dark plumage is beautified with a grey hood and underparts. The Fea's Petrel stands out from the Zinos Petrel due to bigger size, longer wings, and a more substantial bill.

The bird is known for its vocal and aerobatic displays during the night, amplifying its captivating charm. However, the Fea's Petrel faces threats from habitat loss and predation by introduced species. Conservation efforts are in place to protect the bird, which includes the establishment of protected areas and research on ecology and migration patterns.

The Fea's Petrel is a true wonder of nature, recognized by its distinctive call and strong homing instinct. The bird gets its name from the famous Italian explorer and naturalist, Leonardo Fea.

Distinctive Wing Shape

The Fea's Petrel is recognized primarily due to its distinctive wing shape. This seabird, characterized by long, angular wings, presents a charming spectacle in flight. Such a wing shape is a direct adaptation to its oceanic lifestyle.

The wing's elongated form lets the Fea's Petrel glide smoothly in the air, proving beneficial during their extensive migrations. The wings of this bird are slightly larger and longer than those of the Zinos Petrel, offering superior control and maneuverability in flight. This wing shape is vital for their strong, banking flight, enabling the bird to execute impressive aerial acrobatics and vocal displays during the night.

The striking contrast of their dark underwing against their light-colored underparts further accentuates the distinctiveness of their wings. The unique wing shape of the Fea's Petrel is a stellar adaptation that aids in their survival, marking them as an exceptional species.

Anatomy and physiology

study of body functions

The Fea's Petrel (Pterodroma feae) is an exceptional specimen in avian anatomy and physiology due to its distinctive physical properties and bodily functions. This gadfly petrel of medium size displays a set of unique features that aid its remarkable adaptability and survival.

  • The elongated, angular wings, and lengthened tail of the Fea's Petrel facilitate robust and banking flight maneuvers.
  • Its impressive appearance is achieved through the dark grey plumage on the upper parts and underwings, a white body, and a distinctive white region between the bill and eyes.
  • The bird's aerial lifestyle is supported by an optimum wingspan that ranges between 860mm and 940mm, and a weight that averages from 245g to 428g.

The Fea's Petrel is also characterized by its capacity to nest in vacant burrows or rock holes, and its unique vocalizations. Therefore, it makes for a captivating species for study and admiration.

Iridescent Feather Colors

vibrant hues of feathers

The Fea's Petrel displays iridescent feather colors. These colors range from shimmering greens, iridescent blues, radiant purples, to glowing hues of blue and green. These varying colors are most noticeable on the upperparts of the bird and can be observed under different lighting conditions. They serve not only an aesthetic purpose but also aid in communication and recognition among the Fea's Petrels during courtship displays and territorial interactions.

The table below gives a detailed view of the colors seen under different lighting conditions:

Lighting ConditionFeather Colors
Direct sunlightShimmering greens
TwilightIridescent blues
Artificial lightRadiant purples
UnderwaterGlowing hues of blue and green

These colors stem from structural coloration, a process where the microscopic structure of the feathers interacts with light to create the iridescent effect. Observing the Fea's Petrel in its natural habitat under varying lighting conditions provides a unique opportunity to appreciate and study this fascinating display of iridescent feather colors.

Social Feeding Flocks

group behavior in birds

Fea's Petrels exhibit a unique behavior of assembling in social feeding flocks to hunt for fish, squid, and other small marine creatures. This practice is both intriguing and vital to their survival.

Here are three reasons why the collective feeding flocks of Fea's Petrels are impressive and admirable:

  • The Fea's Petrels exhibit a high degree of cooperation. This is evident in their group behavior, where they are seen diving and swooping together. Such synchronized activity demonstrates their ability to communicate and coordinate their foraging efforts.
  • The flock feeding strategy of Fea's Petrels leads to higher efficiency. It enables them to cover a wider area and improves their likelihood of locating food. This efficient approach to feeding helps them optimize their energy intake, particularly during the breeding season when they are responsible for nourishing themselves and their offspring.
  • The social feeding flocks of Fea's Petrels offer safety in numbers. The marine environment presents numerous challenges, such as predators and food competition. Forming social feeding flocks serves as a collective defense strategy, enhancing their survival odds and diminishing predation risk.

Studying the feeding behavior of Fea's Petrels in their social flocks offers an understanding of their feeding habits and gives a glimpse into their overall behavior and ecological role. Their social feeding demonstrates their impressive adaptability and resilience in the vast oceans as they search for sustenance.

Breeding Grounds

mosquitoes thrive in marshes

The breeding grounds for the Fea's Petrel predominantly consist of the caldeira walls of Fogo and the colonies above the village of Bangueira, located in the Cape Verde Islands.

The breeding period extends from mid-May to mid-November, during which they lay one egg, usually in summer. The birds opt for uninhabited rabbit burrows or rock crevices for nesting.

The unique 'M' pattern on their upper wings is displayed during their mating rituals and egg incubation.

The preservation of these breeding areas is vital for the long-term survival of the Fea's Petrel.

Melodic Seabird Calls

The Fea's Petrels produce melodic seabird calls that echo through rocky cliffs and offshore islets, their breeding sites. This haunting melody is not just captivating, but serves critical communication functions. It is used by the Fea's Petrels to establish territory, draw potential mates, and interact with their offspring.

The calls are characterized by a unique richness and a variety of pitches that can be detected from a distance. The sound of these seabirds gliding above the waves and calling out fills the air, contributing to their awe-inspiring presence.

Hearing the melodic symphony of the Fea's Petrel is a cherished experience, leaving a memorable imprint long after their departure.


protecting natural resources and biodiversity

The main focus here is the conservation of Fea's Petrels.

This seabird species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN due to a decrease in population stemming from habitat degradation and predation by alien species.

Actions have been put in place to combat these threats, incorporating the establishment of protected regions and continual research to gain a deeper understanding of their ecology and migratory behaviors.

The goal of these actions is to protect Fea's Petrels and their breeding grounds, while also mitigating the effects of human activities and the presence of invasive species.

Through the execution of these conservation tactics, it is hoped that we can preserve the natural habitats of Fea's Petrels and ensure the continuation of this extraordinary seabird species.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Fast Can a Petrel Fly?

The Fea's Petrel is characterized by its remarkable speed, which allows it to fly at high velocities over the sea. This bird's strength and agility contribute to its impressive aerial performance.

What Family Contains the Petrels?

The Petrels, specifically the Fea's Petrel, are categorized in the family Procellariidae. This family is recognized for its tube-nosed seabirds that exhibit unique nostrils. They show proficiency in flying and can be found in numerous oceanic regions.

What Is the Taxonomy of a Petrel?

The bird Petrel falls under the taxonomy of the family Procellariidae. This family includes a diverse range of species, all of which are recognized for their remarkable aerial skills and oceanic lifestyles. Their placement within this family is based on their shared traits and evolutionary connections.

How Does the Fea’s Petrel Differ from the Common Merganser?

The Fea’s Petrel and Common Merganser differ greatly in their physical appearance and behavior. Fea’s Petrel is a seabird while the Common Merganser is a diving duck. The Fea’s Petrel is a small, slender bird known for its long wings and forked tail, while the Common Merganser is a large duck with a distinctive red bill. For more common merganser information and facts, the Fea’s Petrel is predominantly found in the Atlantic Ocean, while the Common Merganser is commonly found in lakes and rivers in North America.


In conclusion, Fea's Petrel is a rare and distinctive seabird species found in the Macaronesian Islands. With their unique wing shape, dark brown plumage, and white underbelly, they are easily identifiable. Their iridescent feather colors add to their beauty.

Fea's Petrels form monogamous pairs during breeding season and prefer nesting in rocky areas. They are skilled divers and primarily feed on fish, squid, crustaceans, and other small marine organisms.

However, their vulnerable status due to habitat loss and predation highlights the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect this remarkable species.