Bermuda Petrel Pterodroma cahow

Edward S. Brinkley and Kate Sutherland
Version: 2.0 — Published November 16, 2020


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Geographic Variation

Bermuda Petrel is an endemic nester on Bermuda; no geographic variation has been described.



Related Species

Bermuda Petrel is most closely related to other gadfly petrels that nest on islands of the Caribbean (currently, Black-capped Petrel) and the eastern North Atlantic, Fea's Petrel (including "Desertas Petrel" Pterodroma feae deserta), and Zino's Petrel (2). The most comprehensive analysis of this group of gadfly petrels, by Jesus et al. (2), used morphological characters and mitochondrial DNA sequences and confirmed the monophyly of this group. Within this assemblage, Black-capped Petrel appears to be sister to a clade that includes Bermuda, "Desertas," and Fea's Petrel. In another study, Welch et al. (9) similarly find a well-supported clade of Caribbean and eastern North Atlantic gadfly petrels, with Black-capped again sister to a clade that includes Bermuda, Zino's, "Desertas," and Fea's Petrel. Within this clade, Bermuda Petrel appears sister to Fea's, Zino's, and "Desertas" Petrel (2, 9, 10).


Described as Aestrelata cahow Nichols and Mowbray 1916 (11: page 194); type locality southeastern side of Castle Island, Bermuda. The holotype is a bird found alive at Gurnet Rock during a strong storm 22 February 1906 that later died at the Bermuda Aquarium (now American Museum of Natural History [AMNH] 789769).

Fossil History

Shufeldt (12, 13) analyzed fossil and subfossil bones from Bermudian caves and noted an abundance of remains of a gadfly petrel species, which he named Æstrelata gularis in the same year that Nichols and Mowbray (11) described Æstrelata cahow. The latter name applies to Bermuda Petrel, as it was published first and was based on a specimen.

Recommended Citation

Brinkley, E. S. and K. Sutherland (2020). Bermuda Petrel (Pterodroma cahow), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, B. K. Keeney, and S. M. Billerman, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.berpet.02