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Pterodroma baraui (Barau’s petrel) 

Baraustormvoël [Afrikaans]; Barau-stormvogel [Dutch]; Diablotin de Barau [French]; Barau-sturmvogel [German]

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

Pterodroma baraui (Barau’s petrel)   

Barau's petrel, offshore from Richard's Bay, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]


Distribution and habitat

Breeds on Réunion Island and possibly some islands near Mauritius, after which it disperses across the Indian Ocean from 41° South to 11° North. It is a rare vagrant to southern African waters, with three records: one off southern Mozambique in November 1987, and another two records off Richard's Bay, KwaZulu-Natal in 1988 and 2003 respectively.

Movements and migrations

It arrives at its breeding colonies in September, after which it is thought disperse and head north in the period from June-August, returning again between December and February.


It does most of its foraging by snatching prey from the water surface, often in flocks with other seabirds, such as Tropical and Wedge-tailed shearwaters, Sooty terns and Brown noddies.


Endangered, due to its small population of just 4000-5000 pairs, coupled with decreases in breeding colony size due to illegal exploitation and predation by introduced rats, cats and goats.


  • 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