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Cape Petrel (Daption capense capense) | by Mark Carmody
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Cape Petrel (Daption capense capense)


The Cape Petrel (Daption capense), also called Cape Pigeon or Pintado Petrel, is a common seabird of the Southern Ocean from the family Procellariidae. It is the only member of the genus Daption, and is allied to the fulmarine petrels, and the giant petrels. It is also sometimes known as the Cape Fulmar. They are extremely common seabirds with an estimated population of around 2 million. There are two subspecies, of which D. c. capense breeds on circumpolar subantarctic islands. The other breeds on the New Zealand subantarctic islands. They breed on many islands of Antarctica and the subantarctic islands, some going as far as the Auckland Islands, the Chatham Islands, Campbell Island. Their main breeding grounds were on the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, the Balleny Islands, the Kerguelen Islands, as well as islands in the Scotia Sea.


The Cape petrel is a unique looking petrel. It has a black head and neck, and a white belly, breast, and its underwing is white with a black border. Its back, and upperwings are black and white speckled, as is its tail which also has a band of black. When fully grown, their wings span 86 cm (34 in) and they are 39 cm (15 in) long.(wikipedia)


Seeing this species was a lifelong ambition of mine, having first seen them in a seabird book when I was a kid. The book called them Cape Pigeons and indicated that they were found around Cape Horn. Of course, this sounded like some far away land (which it is!) with incredible creatures (which there are). Seeing my first one was quite surreal and I did get a bit emotional! Great birds. Taken in Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia.

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Taken on November 27, 2014