Phoenix Petrel

Phoenix Petrel miniature sheetPhoenix Petrel sheetlet
The Phoenix petrel Pterodroma alba is considered to be a relatively rare and little known seabird of the tropical Pacific. It is a medium-sized tropical seabird, measuring up to 35 cm long, with a wingspan of around 83 cm. It has a dark greyish-brown upperparts plumage, white lower breast, belly and under tail and a whitish throat. Its bill is black and legs are pink.

Found throughout oceans and coastal areas in the central Pacific, specific colonies are thought to be present on the Line and Phoenix Islands, Tonga, Kirimati (Christmas Island), Tuamotu, the Marquesas and Oeno in the Pitcairn Islands. The most recent study on Oeno was in 1998/9 where 10-20 pairs were observed. (Bell and Bell 1998, B. Bell verbally 1999).

Like several other tropical petrel species, the Phoenix petrel nests and breeds in colonies on the ground surface, rather than in a burrow. This is thought to be due to the absence of aerial predators (skuas, hawks, falcons and owls). These scrapes are found most often on coral atolls or volcanic islands.

The petrel feeds mainly on squid, supplemented by fish and crustaceans. It spends most of the time out to sea but does come ashore to breed, although there is no fixed breeding season. A single white egg is incubated by both parents, who also share care of the chick.

While population details are often uncertain, it appears this is now a scarce species, perhaps numbering only 10,000 breeding pairs and 30,000 individuals. Due to ongoing habitat loss, small population size, predation by invasive species (especially on the species stronghold Kirimati where rats have arrived) and human exploitation, the Phoenix petrel is evaluated as endangered on the IUCN Red List

Phoenix Petrel FDC

Phoenix Petrel
Please Note: All prices are in New Zealand Dollars
Strip of 4 stamps
2 set mini sheet
4 set sheetlet
First Day Cover with stamp strip

Technical Details

Sue Wickison, Wellington, New Zealand

Pitcairn Stamps
proudly brought
to you by:
Bounty Post
Printer: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand
Process: Offset Litho
Stamp size: 35mm x 29.4mm horizontal
Format: Four stamps in strips (2 in mini sheet & 4 in sheetlet).
Perforation Gauge: 14.285 x 14.285
Denominations: $0.20, $1.00, $2.10 and $3.00.
Paper: 103gsm Tullis Russell Yellow/Green phosphor stamp paper.
Period of Sale:
6 July 2016 for a period of two years.
Acknowledgement: The Bureau thanks WWF for endorsing this stamp issue.