Story: Petrels

Petrel diversity

Petrel diversity

This watercolour by Elaine Power shows some of the diversity of petrels, as well as their common characteristics, such as a hooked bill and long wings. They have rounded bodies with well-developed pectoral or flight muscles. All petrels are true seabirds, spending most of their lives at sea and coming on land only to breed. For this reason, few people other than seafarers notice them, even though tens of millions of petrels breed in New Zealand. Of the world’s 114 petrel species, 37 breed in the New Zealand region.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-374-086
Watercolour by Elaine Power

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Petrels - Petrels', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 12 December 2023)

Story by Kerry-Jayne Wilson, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015