Proposal (476) to South American Classification Committee


Add Pterodroma macroptera (Great-winged Petrel) to main list


Effect on South American CL: This transfers a species from the Hypothetical List to the Main List.


Background: The Hypothetical List currently summarizes the situation as follows: "There are probably only sight records for this species in South America”. Concerning records from Brazil the following was written: “Teixeira et al. (1985) showed that the two reported specimens from Brazil were actually Puffinus griseus, leaving only sight reports from Brazil”.


Published photographic record from Fernando de Noronha Island, Brazil: According to Bugoni (2006) on 20 March 2004 a female was found stranded on the beach near Albardão lighthouse, Rio Grande do Sul (33o09’S, 52o39’W). This specimen was photographed (figure 1 on the paper) and then taxidermized and deposited in a regional collection. (Fundação Universidade Federal do Rio Grande bird collection nr. 360). Measurements (in mm) of the specimen are: culmen 39.1, bill width at base 15.3, tarsus 43.5, total length 400, wing 323, wingspan 1,060, tail 125, and body mass 385 g.

This specimen represents the first documented record for the southwest Atlantic north of Argentina (Bugoni 2006) and the first specimen for South America.

Literature Cited:

BUGONI, L.  2006. Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera in Brazil. Bulletin of British Ornithologists´ Club 126(1): 52-54     


TEIXEIRA, D. M., NACINOVIC, J. B. & NOVELLI, R. 1985. Notes on some Brazilian seabirds. Bulletin of British Ornithologists´ Club 105: 49–51.


José Fernando Pacheco & Carlos Eduardo Agne, Dec. 2010




Comments from Stiles:  “YES. Photographic and specimen evidence seem conclusive.”


Comments from Robbins: “YES.  Nice to finally have a specimen that is unequivocally of this species.”


Comments from Nores:  “YES.  The photo by Bugoni (2006) clearly shows that it belongs to this species.  In Argentina, this petrel was cited for the first time by Salvin in 1896 (Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. XXV: 395) in Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and later by Dabbene (1910-1921), Steullet and Deautier (1935), Zotta (1944), and Olrog (1959, 1963, 1979, 1984), who indicated in his last publication (Guía de las aves de Argentina) that it is a regular visitor to the Argentine shores. Also by Canevari et al. (1991). However, later authors (Narosky and Yzurieta 1987, 2010 and Mazar Barnett and Pearman 2001) do not include this species among the Argentine birds.”


Comments from Zimmer:  “YES.  Photo and specimen demands addition of this species to our list (and one more bird to deal with in the Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil!).”


Comments from Remsen:  “YES.  Just to make sure on the ID, I asked Steve Howell to take a look at the paper, and he says it is correctly identified if measurements correct.  I also asked Stephen F. Bailey, who replied: “It does look like Pterodroma macroptera to me.  The single photo is not everything that I would like to see, but it seems to show the large bill and all-dark plumage of this species, including no pale in the face.  The measurements also help confirm the species; as the author wrote, all the other all-dark gadfly petrels are smaller in most or all measurements, and the specific measurements of the specimen in question do fit this species. The large, particularly robust bill in the photo looks especially typical of Pterodroma macroptera, but with the plumage messed up post-mortem there is a chance of misjudging something like bill size in a photo, so it's good to have the measurements.”