Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Bulwer's Petrel - Bulweria bulwerii
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General Comments The Bulwer's Petrel breeds on islands in the eastern north Atlantic Ocean off Africa, in the same general area where Cory's Shearwater, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, and Fea's Petrel breed. Thus, pelagic experts would expect this petrel to be found off North Carolina every few years, especially considering its unusual appearance -- slender shape, long pointed/wedge tail, bounding flight very low over the water, and dark coloration with no white rump -- is very difficult to mistake for any other bird. However, such has not been the case, and despite hundreds to a few thousand pelagic trips to the Gulf Stream, only two such trips have encountered the species in North Carolina waters. In fact, it has been found in North America elsewhere only on one to several occasions off California. The bird documented by photos off the state in 1998 was the record that the American Ornithologists' Union and American Birding Association used to place the species on the Official Lists for North America.
Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank G4
Coastal Plain Accidental offshore visitor, to the Gulf Stream; only two state records: 1, sight report off Oregon Inlet, 1 Jul 1992* [Chat 58:85 link]; 1, photographed off Oregon Inlet, 8 Aug 1998* (AB 53:113-115) [Chat 65:83-89 link].
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips
1/2 *
Attribution LeGrand[2020-02-07], LeGrand[2018-02-01], LeGrand[2014-06-08]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.