• Scientifique Name: Ardenna pacifica (Gmelin, 1789)
  • Polynesian Names: O’upoa (Moorea et Maupiti), kokokoko (Mangareva), upo’a (Tubuai)
  • Order: Procellariiformes
  • Family: Procellariidae
  • CategorySeabirds
  • LocationEverywhere in French Polynesia: Marquesas, Tuamotu, Society, Austral – Tropical and subtropical areas of Pacific Ocean

Appearance and identification

16-17 inches. It is the largest bird of its category in Polynesia. Male and female identical in appearance. The body is entirely black-brown. The throat and chest are somewhat paler than other shearwaters black body. The underside of the body is dark grey. The beak is black. There are lighter individuals which are brown above, grey-white below, with a pale grey beak. The beak is characteristic of this bird. It is hooked at its end and its tubular nostrils open on the top of the beak. It is much longer and more slender than the Petrel’s beak. The legs are flesh coloured. In flight, it alternates long flight phases hovered at short wing beats, flying low on the surface of the water. Its tail is cuneiform, very distinctive.

Videos

Voice

Characteristics

Throughout Polynesia. It is remains in the Society Islands, the Tuamotu, Marquesas and Austral Islands. Abundant in tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific Ocean (Hawaii, Mariana Islands, Caroline, Marshall, Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Pitcairn) and the Indian Ocean.

In dense colonies from September to May It nests in a room at the end of a burrow two meters below the surface, but sometimes simply under a rock or bush. The reproductive cycle is studied outside French Polynesia. A white egg (63-69 x 41-44 mm) is incubated for 50 days by both sexes. The young flies off after 70 to 95 days of rearing.

Pelagic, it returns on land to breed. Groups of individuals gather late in the afternoon and fly back to their colonies. Nests in burrows on islands, atolls and on the heights of volcanic islands. Opportunistic, it uses various sites: caves, old rabbit burrows …

« Ka-whooooo-ahh » ” during the parade, they repeat this sound hysterically. Sings on the ground, unlike other Puffins in Polynesia.

Hunts alone, in couple or in scattered groups. It eats is squid, crustaceans and small fish that it captures while swimming on the surface or by diving.

Location

Throughout Polynesia. It is remains in the Society Islands, the Tuamotu, Marquesas and Austral Islands. Abundant in tropical and subtropical regions of the Pacific Ocean (Hawaii, Mariana Islands, Caroline, Marshall, Kiribati, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Pitcairn) and the Indian Ocean.

Breeding

In dense colonies from September to May It nests in a room at the end of a burrow two meters below the surface, but sometimes simply under a rock or bush. The reproductive cycle is studied outside French Polynesia. A white egg (63-69 x 41-44 mm) is incubated for 50 days by both sexes. The young flies off after 70 to 95 days of rearing.

Habitat

Pelagic, it returns on land to breed. Groups of individuals gather late in the afternoon and fly back to their colonies. Nests in burrows on islands, atolls and on the heights of volcanic islands. Opportunistic, it uses various sites: caves, old rabbit burrows …

Voice

« Ka-whooooo-ahh » ” during the parade, they repeat this sound hysterically. Sings on the ground, unlike other Puffins in Polynesia.

Food

Hunts alone, in couple or in scattered groups. It eats is squid, crustaceans and small fish that it captures while swimming on the surface or by diving.

Status and protection

The species is classified as “Least Concern” (LC) on the IUCN Red List but « Near Threatened » (NT) on the France and Polynesia 2015 UICN Red List.

Original text by Caroline BLANVILLAIN – Supplements and update by various members of the SOP Manu.