PELAGIC BIRDING CAPE TOWN: LEUCISTIC WHITE-CHINNED AND SPECTACLED PETRELS – points of distinction

Every now and then on a deep-sea pelagic trip out of Cape Town the shout goes out for a ‘spectacled petrel’ as an obviously white-headed petrel careens past within the melee of seabirds wheeling about a working trawler.

Spectacled Petrel, another view

Spectacled Petrel

Most of the time it is indeed a most sought after sighting of a Spectacled Petrel from Tristan da Cunha, where they breed on Inaccessible Island, but every so often it just so happens to be a leucistic  White-chinned Petrel that catches everyone out at first glance…

White-chinned Petrel , Leucistic Morph

White-chinned Petrel , Leucistic Morph

Diagnostic features to look out for in making the distinction between the two petrels are the dark bill tip and white forehead of the Spectacled Petrel  as definitive field marks as can be clearly seen in the accompanying images for your viewing enjoyment!

Spectacled Petrel

Spectacled Petrel

 

Spectacled Petrel and White-chinned Petrel together

Spectacled Petrel and White-chinned Petrel together

 

For more info on finding and identifying tricky birds in and around Cape Town, contact Patrick or Marie-Louise at Avian Leisure  info@avianleisure.com or browse through our website Avian Leisure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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