Hawaiian Petrel

Pterodroma sandwichensis




Petrels and Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In burrow, crevice, or crack in lava tubes.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.





Hawaiian Petrel: Medium-sized slim petrel with black and white plumage. Upperparts are dark gray and black; white forehead with some black spots, white extends to anterior supercilium and anterior lores to cheeks, black crown and sides of head down to ear coverts, back to mid-neck, fades to dark gray-brown on rest of upperparts, which include the upperwing and uppertail; feather edging on mantle and scapulars is paler and may give a scaly appearance; long wings and tail. Sexes are alike; juvenile similar to adult.

Range and Habitat

Hawaiian Petrel: Breeds in high elevations on the Hawaiian Islands of Maui, Hawai‘i, and Kaua‘i, and it may also breed on the islands of Moloka‘i and Lana‘i. It feeds in the pelagic waters of the northern Pacific Ocean. Has been recorded off the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington from May to October.

Breeding and Nesting

Hawaiian Petrel: These petrels are monogamous and show mate fidelity. During their March to October nesting season they return to the same nesting burrows from a life out at sea. One white egg is placed in a burrow or crack in lava tubes in both dry and wet high elevation forests. Both sexes incubate the egg for 55 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Hawaiian Petrel: This petrel mainly forages for food at night, flying in flocks with other species of marine birds. They forage for fish species such as lanternfish and goatfish and other small sea creatures by picking them off near the surface of pelagic zones in the Pacific Ocean. They do not dive into the water to feed.


Hawaiian Petrel: Makes noises like those of a small dog, “(kee-kee)-kee-kee-koo”. Male's make “sweet” calls and females make “coarse” calls; also make a low-pitched, gurgling “goo-oooo-gouih-guih-goooo-o”; pairs utter a “a’-uuuuu-a’-uu-a’-uu-a” duet in flight.

Similar Species

Hawaiian Petrel: Cook's Petrel has grayer plumage with black markings on upperwing and black mark around eyes.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The crown is the top part of the birds head.
The upper surface of the back and wings covered with shorter feathers.
Short feathers in the area where the bird’s back and wings join.
Also called the superciliary, it is the arch of feathers over the eye.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X