• Bulwer's Petrel 


Scientific name
Bulweria bulwerii (Jardine & Selby, 1828)

Red Data Book Status
Least concern


  • Identification

Bulwer’s Petrel is a small all dark seabird with pale diagonal bars across secondary covert. It has longer wings and tail. The bill is black and quite strong with pronounced nostrils. The flight is normally rapid, erratic and close to the sea-surface with quick changes in direction especially in strong winds.

  • Voice

Silent in flight, the call is only heard from their burrows. The call that is similar to an "uh-uh-uh-uh" that resembles a dog yapping. (listen to the Bulwer's Petrel calls)

  • Ecology

Nests colonially under rocks, crevices or rocky slopes near the ocean. On its breeding grounds Bulwer’s petrel is strictly nocturnal. They feed on small fish on the surface. They feed on squid and small fish, occasionally plankton, mostly taken from the surface.

  • Distribution

Bulwer's Petrel breeds on the subtropical islands of the Pacific and Northeast Atlantic. In the Atlantic more than 90% of the population is concentrated in Madeira archipelago but they are also present in the Azores, Canary´s and Cape Verde Islands. In Madeira archipelago this species occurs in all of the islands, but is on the Deserta´s that is concentrated the largest population.


A bird was recaptured during a 1992 and 1993 breeding season on Sand Island, was at least 24 years old being probably the oldest Bulwer’s Petrel in the World. In 2008 in Desertas islands it was found a bird that has been ringed in 1994 thst probably has more than 15 years.


  • Bulwer’s Petrel Sightings


May 2012, Madeira Island © René Pop


September 2013, Madeira Island © L.van Bergeijk

  • Literature

[1] Luzardo, J.; López-Darias, M.; Suárez, V.; Calabuig, P.; García, E.A.; Martín, C. 2008 First breeding population of Bulwer’s petrel Bulweria bulwerii recorded on Gran Canaria (Canary Islands)—population size and morphometric data. Marine Ornithology 36: 159-162.

[2] Mougin, J.-L. 1996. Faithfulness to mate and nest site of Bulwer’s petrel Bulweria bulwerii at Selvagem Grande. Marine Ornithology 24: 15-18.

[3] Mougin, J-L.; Mougin, M-C. 2000. Maximum diving depths for feeding attained by Bulwer's petrels (Bulweria bulwerii) during the incubation period.Journal of Zoology 250: 75-77.

[4] Neves, V.C.; Nolf, D.; Clarke, M.R. 2011. Diet of Bulwer's petrel (Bulweria bulwerii) in the Azores, NE Atlantic. Waterbirds 34: 357-363.

[5] Onley, D.; Scofield, P. 2007. Albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters of the world.Christopher Helm, London.


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