Story: Petrels

Small and large petrels (1st of 2)

Small and large petrels

The white-faced storm petrel breeds in large numbers on islands around New Zealand. It is about the size of a bellbird, and weighs 45 grams. When feeding, storm petrels fly close to the water, pattering on the surface with their large webbed feet. This may be the origin of the name ‘petrel’ as the birds appear to be walking on the water like St Peter – although none of the other petrel families share this behaviour.

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Department of Conservation
Reference: 10042377
Photograph by Chris Smuts-Kennedy

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How to cite this page:

Kerry-Jayne Wilson, 'Petrels - Petrels', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 March 2024)

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