Skip Navigation

Bonin Petrel

Pterodroma hypoleuca
Bonin petrel1

Bonin petrels have a gray-black back and head. Forehead, chin, and throat are white. Underparts are white with a partial gray collar extending from nape. Underwings are white with dark margins and diagonal bar extending from carpal inward across coverts. Wedge-shaped tail and flesh colored legs and feet with black toes.

They are strictly nocturnal over breeding grounds. They are monogamous and return to the same burrow every year; arriving in August and spending the fall months courting, establishing pair bonds, excavating burrows, and nest building.

Bonin Petrels nest in burrows that can be as long as three meters and one meter deep, usually in sandy areas. A single, white egg is laid in the nesting chamber at the end of the burrow. No relaying will take place if the egg is lost. Incubation duty is shared by both adults and lasts about 49 days.

Chicks begin to hatch in early March. Parents feed chicks by regurgitating concentrated stomach oil (similar to Albatross). Parents average one feeding every two nights. Fledging occurs approximately 82 days after hatching. By the end of June, adults and chicks have departed the nesting colonies.

They only breed in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands or the Bonin and Volcano Islands of Japan.

Facts About Bonin Petrel

Feed alone or in small groups, primarily at night. Feed on small fish and squid probably by dipping or surface-feeding.
Life Span
15 years
Length: 30 cm (12 in); wingspan: 63-71 cm (25-28 in) 
Page Photo Credits — Ian Jones/USFWS
Last Updated: Apr 13, 2016
Return to main navigation