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Procellaria conspicillata (Spectacled petrel) 

Brilbassiaan [Afrikaans]; Pétrel à lunettes [French]; Painho-de-óculos [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Procellariidae

Procellaria conspicillata (Spectacled petrel)  Procellaria conspicillata (Spectacled petrel) 
Spectacled petrel, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©] Spectacled petrel, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Only breeds on Inaccessible Island, Tristan da Cunha group, after which it disperse across the South Atlantic Ocean. mainly between 25-41° South. It is scarce in southern African waters, occurring along off the west coast from northern Namibia to the area off Cape Town, Western Cape, with an isolated record off KwaZulu-Natal.

Movements and migrations

Little known, as there are observations of it being most common in both summer and winter; the former is more likely, since its numbers peak off south-eastern South America in summer. Adults are usually present at their breeding colony from September-March, when the chicks fledge.


It mainly eats fishery discards and offal, squid, fish and crustaceans, doing most of its foraging by grabbing prey prey from the surface of the water or diving to slightly greater depths.


Critically endangered, with a breeding population of just 3000-4000 pairs and a total global population of roughly 10 000 individuals. Approximately 750 birds are killed annually on longlines off Brazil, with more deaths in southern African waters, which has largely caused the massive decrease in its population numbers. Introduced predators uprooted a colony on Amsterdam Island, Indian Ocean, but thankfully its remaining Inaccessible Island colony is in a better situation, as the introduced pigs have been removed.


  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town.