email a friend
printable version
Masatierra Petrel Pterodroma defilippiana
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species qualifies as Vulnerable because it has a very small breeding range at three or four locations, and is therefore susceptible to stochastic events or human impacts. It is likely to have been extirpated from one island some time ago, but the bulk of the population is presumably stable.

Taxonomic source(s)
Brooke, M. de L. 2004. Albatrosses and Petrels Across the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

26 cm. Small, typical "M" marked gadfly petrel. Dark grey upperparts with sharp "M" mark. White forehead but dark grey cap and mask, extending to grey half-collar on upper breast. Dark grey rump and uppertail-coverts. Paler outer tail feathers. White throat and lower chest/belly. Predominantly white underwing, but black tip and narrow trailing edge, extending to leading edge. Similar spp. Separated from most other small gadfly petrels by whiter underwing. Cook's Petrel P. cookii has shorter and thinner bill and shorter tail. Stejneger's Petrel P. longirostris has paler crown and nape, and lacks darker central tail feathers. Pycroft's Petrel P. pycrofti is possibly inseparable, but ranges may not overlap.

Distribution and population
Pterodroma defilippiana is an east Pacific seabird, currently breeding on three or four islands off the coast of Chile. In the Des Venturadas Islands, 10,000 or more birds occurred on San Ambrosio in 1970, with an additional 150-200 pairs on San Félix. In the Juan Fernández Islands, it has possibly been extirpated on Robinson Crusoe, and the population on Santa Clara was suggested at hundreds, possibly thousands, in 1986, but available habitat was found for only 100-200 individuals in 1991. It ranges at sea in the nearby Peru Current, south of the equator (Roberson and Bailey 1991, Spear et al. 1992).

Population justification
The world population may be no greater than 20,000 individuals, possibly fewer. It is placed in the band 10,000-19,999 individuals, equating to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is thought to be stable although the very small breeding range of the species renders it susceptible to stochastic events, human impacts and predation by invasive species.

It breeds on sheltered cliff-ledges, crevices, caverns and amongst boulders at the foot of lava cliffs. It nests colonially, with eggs apparently laid July-September, chicks hatching in October and colonies abandoned in December-January. However, it has been reported breeding in February on San Félix.

Feral cats and coatis are blamed for the possible extinction on Robinson Crusoe, and cats have caused extensive mortality on San Félix. Rats have been cited as a predator but on which island is unknown. Santa Clara and San Ambrosio appear to be predator-free.

Conservation Actions Underway
The Juan Fernández Islands were designated as a national park in 1935 (protected from 1967) and a biosphere reserve in 1977. The Chilean government began a habitat restoration programme in 1997 (J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999), and the islands have been nominated for World Heritage listing (Hulm 1995). Conservation Actions Proposed
Remove all introduced mammals, initially within intensively managed, fenced, feasibility study areas. Survey to establish population size, local distribution and breeding productivity.

Brooke, M. De L. 2004. Albatrosses and petrels across the world. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Giglioli; Salvadori. 1869. Pterodroma arminjoniana arminjoniana, Pterodroma defilippiana, Puffinus assimilis elegans. Ibis New ser. Vol. 5: 62-63, 68.

Howell, S. N. G.; Webb, S.; Spear, L. B. 1996. Identification at sea of Cook's, de Filippi's and Pycroft's petrels. Western Birds 27: 57-64.

Hulm, P. 1995. Robinson Crusoe's Islands face an uncertain future. Plant Talk: 19-21.

Roberson, D.; Bailey, S. F. 1991. Cookilaria Petrels in the eastern Pacific Ocean. American Birds 45: 1067-1081.

Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

Spear, L. B.; Howell, S. N. G.; Ainley, D. G. 1992. Notes on the at-sea identification of some Pacific gadfly petrels (Genus: Pterodroma). Colonial Waterbirds 15: 202-218.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Clay, R., Temple, H.

Torres-Mura, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pterodroma defilippiana. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - De Filippi's petrel (Pterodroma defilippiana) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author (Giglioli & Salvadori, 1869)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,770,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species