Kerguelen Petrel Aphrodroma brevirostris


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 that the global population numbers around 1,000,000 individuals.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be decreasing, as invasive mice may be leading to reduced breeding success.

Distribution and population

Kerguelen Petrel colonies are present on Gough Island (St Helena to UK) in the Atlantic Ocean, and Marion Island and Prince Edward Island (South Africa), and Crozet Islands and Kerguelen Island (French Southern Territories) in the Indian Ocean. Outside the breeding season its range is circumpolar, frequenting the subantarctic and Antarctic waters south to the ice pack all year round (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


This species is marine and highly pelagic, being found in cold waters. It feeds mostly on squid, but also krill and fish. Squid are captured by surface-seizing at night, but dipping is also seen. Its breeding season starts in August, forming loose colonies near the sea on marshy ground, and also higher up on volcanic ridges up to 450 m. It nests in deep burrows dug in soft, wet soil (del Hoyo et al. 1992).


On Gough Island, one of the locations where this species is known to breed, mice are responsible for reduced breeding success of burrowing petrel species (Cuthbert et al. 2013). While the effects on this species specifically have not been investigated it is also likely to be negatively affected.


Text account compilers
Fjagesund, T., Calvert, R., Hermes, C., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R., Stuart, A., Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Aphrodroma brevirostris. Downloaded from on 31/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 31/05/2020.