Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

A long way from home: a Northern Giant Petrel gets photographed in the North Pacific

A Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli was photographed off the coast of Washington, USA in the North Pacific on 8 December 2019 from the vessel Pacific Hustler while it was fishing for Black Cod or Sablefish Anoplopoma fimbria.  The bird can be identified specifically by the reddish tip to its bill.  Based on its rather uniform dark plumage it does not appear to be an adult.

Northern Giant Petrels breed on sub-Antarctic islands in the Southern Ocean with a circumpolar oceanic distribution recorded north to 25-28ºS, so the photographed bird was indeed a long way from home.

Northern Giant Petrel Washington 8.12.2019.Zed Blue 2 

Northern Giant Petrel Washington 8.12.2019.Zed Blue 3

The Northern Giant Petrel along with Black-footed Albatrosses Phoebastria nigripes and dark-phase Arctic Fulmars Fulmarus glacialis, photograph by Zed Blue

Checking my home library it seems this may be the first definite trans-equatorial record of a Northern Giant Petrel (although a Southern Giant Petrel M. giganteus has been sighted north of the Equator in the Atlantic).

Information from the Western Washington Birders.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 02 January 2020

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