The petrel is a medium-sized offshore bird. It can be spotted over every ocean in the world. Petrels vary greatly in size. Depending on the species, they can grow between 25 centimeters and 100 centimeters in size and have a wingspan of up to two meters. This is as big as a room door is high.
The smallest petrels weigh only 170 grams, which is about the same weight as a pepper. The giant petrel can weigh up to five kilograms. It resembles the albatross. Whether big or small, petrels can fly very well. On the other hand, they cannot move on land with their weak legs. In order not to fall over, they need their wings for support.
There is no specific color for the petrel. The plumage is sometimes white, brown, gray, or black. The petrel usually has dark feathers on the back and light feathers on the belly. Its beak is hooked and about three centimeters long. That’s about as long as an eraser. Two tube-like nostrils on the upper side of the beak are special: the birds excrete the sea salt in the water through these openings.
The petrel’s beak is pointed like a nail and has sharp edges. This allows the bird to catch and hold onto its prey. He likes to eat small fish and other mollusks.
Petrels are usually solitary. But during the mating season, they live in large colonies on steep cliffs or screes. Each pair incubates an egg, which can take up to two months. The egg has a very white shell and is very large compared to the size of the chick. After the chicks hatch, it can take up to four months for the little petrels to fly.
The petrel’s natural enemies in the air are the common raven, large gulls, and other birds of prey. On land, he has to be careful of arctic foxes and humans.