(2201) Daption capense.
The Cape Petrel.
Procellaria capensis Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th. ed., i, p. 132 (1758) (Cape of Good Hope). Daption capensis. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 357.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole head, hind-neck, upper back and lesser wing-coverts slaty brown-black; remaining upper parts white, each feather broadly tipped with black; tail white with a broad black terminal band : primaries black, with the inner webs broadly white except at the tips ; the white increases inwardly until the inner secondaries are white tipped with black; chin and sides of throat white spotted with slate-brown; remainder of under plumage white with a few spots on the sides of the neck, flanks and under tail-coverts; axillaries white; under wing-coverts white in the centre, slate-grey all round.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill black, the skin between the rami red; legs and feet black.
Measurements, Wing 240 to 268 mm.; tail 92 to 108 mm.; tarsus 42 to 46 mm.; culmen 29 to 32 mm.
Nestling in down dark sooty-grey above, paler below.
Distribution. Southern Circumpolar Seas. Once obtained in the Gulf of Manaar, between Ceylon and the Mainland.
Nidification. The Cape Petrel breeds in the South Orkneys and Shetlands during December, laying a single pure white egg on ledges on cliffs or, rarely, among small stones on the heaps fallen along the foot of the cliffs. There is no nest, though Dr. Pirie, during the South Orkney Expedition of 1903, found that the birds collected a few chips of rock and small lumps of earth for the eggs to lie on. Some eggs were found laid in hollows in the earth of the sides of the cliffs but these were open, not deep crevices like those occupied by Wilson's Petrel. The birds were very numerous and very sociable, several often nesting close together, whilst others had their nesting-places well apart and alone. Eagle-Clarke gives the average " of a large number " as 62.35 x 43.11 mm.; including eight eggs taken by Bennett, the average of forty eggs measured by myself is the same. Maxima 67.2 x 45.2 and 64.0 x 46.5 mm.; minima 56.5 x 42.1 and 64.0 x 39.5 mm.
The birds sit close and have to be forcibly removed from their eggs and when disturbed have the Petrel's usual habit of ejecting a foul-smelling oil over the intruder.
Habits. Similar to those of other Petrels.