Murphy's Petrel

Pterodroma ultima




Petrels and Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

50 - 54

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In burrow or rock crevices.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.





Murphy's Petrel: Large petrel with an overall gray or gray-brown body and pale throat, chin and face. Feathers of anterior head have dusky brown-gray tips, usually showing a variable amount of white base, especially on the cheek, down to the back, to lower anterior ear coverts and down to the throat. Underwings have pale bars and underwing coverts are white edged in dark gray; delicate, small black bill; wedge-shaped tail; legs and feet are pale black; black eyes. Sexes and juveniles are similar.

Range and Habitat

Murphy's Petrel: Breeds in the Pitcairn Islands, the Tuamotu Archipelago, the Austral Islands, and the Gambier Islands. Seen annually in North America far offshore, along the Pacific coast of northern Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. This species is pelagic, only coming ashore during breeding season.

Breeding and Nesting

Murphy's Petrel: These petrels begin the breeding process in late March. They nest on the ground in small colonies, generally in shallow scrapes excavated by both parents under trees, shrubs or low vegetation. One white egg is laid in the nest. Incubation ranges from 50 to 54 days and is carried out by both parents. After the egg hatches, both parents tend to the hatchling and help feed it.

Foraging and Feeding

Murphy's Petrel: These petrels eat small cephalopods such as octopus and squid, which make up the bulk of their diet, although they also feed on fish and crustaceans. They forage in flight, snatching prey at or near the water surface. Its short stout bill, equipped with a powerful hook and sharp cutting edge, is used for gripping and cutting up their prey.


Murphy's Petrel: Emits acute cries on breeding grounds; silent at sea.

Similar Species

Murphy's Petrel: Herald Petrel Dark Morph lacks white at the base of the bill.

The area of the face just below the bill.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
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