Common Diving-petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
Brooke (2004) estimated the global population to exceed 16,000,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to predation by invasive species.

Distribution and population

The Common Diving-petrel has discrete ranges surrounding oceanic islands in the south Atlantic at South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island (St Helena to UK), in the south Indian Ocean, south and east of New Zealand (e.g. Antipodes Islands), and also on New Zealand's north island and Tasmania (Australia). Very little is known of their range when not breeding, but they are thought to be fairy sedentary, remaining in coastal waters adjacant to colonies (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


This species normally occurs over inshore waters but can also be found over offshore waters. Its diet comprises mainly of planktonic crustaceans, which are caught under water in pursuit-diving either from the surface or after plunging. Its breeding season is variable according to locality, forming colonies with up to 1,500 individuals in burrows on steep slopes and also on flat ground of oceanic islands. Colonies are normally coastal, but may occur well inland (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


Rats, Rattus spp. are present in multiple colonies where this species breeds. While in some areas, such as South Georgia, comprehensive eradication programmes are being carried out, this threat is likely to continue with decreasing severity for the forseeable future (Piertney et al. 2016). However, this species is not noted as being particularly susceptible or severely affected by this threat.


Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Fjagesund, T., Martin, R., Bennett, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Pelecanoides urinatrix. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/09/2023.