(2195) Fregetta tropica melanogastra.
The Dusky-vented Petrel.
Thalassidroma melanogaster Gould, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., xiii, p. 367 (1844) (Is. of St. Paul). Cymodroma melanogaster. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 355.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper tail-coverts and the bases of all but the centre pair of tail-feathers white ; remaining upper parts blackish-brown, the crown darker and the quills and greater coverts almost black on the outer webs; chin and throat mottled white; breast brown; abdomen and posterior flanks white, the centre of the former mottled with dark brown; vent and under tail-coverts blackish with white bases to the feathers.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill and legs black.
Measurements. Wing 158 to 176 mm.: tail 73 to 81 mm.: tarsus about 40 to 43 mm., once 39 mm.; culmen 14 to 15 mm.
Distribution. Southern Seas of Australia, West to the Bay of Bengal, where one specimen was obtained. In the Atlantic North to the Tropic of Cancer.
Nidification. This Petrel has been found breeding in Kerguelen Island during March, laying one egg in a crevice in a rock. An egg is described by Mathews as "dull white, minutely and sparingly dotted all over with small pink dots" and measuring 37 x 27 mm. During the South Orkney Expedition a bird was caught in Laurie Island on December 5th on its nest, a hole in a rock, fifteen feet above the sea. The egg from this nest measured 36.0 x 25.5 mm.
Habits. Much the same as those of the preceding bird. The note is said to be a shrill piping uttered every few seconds by the birds on the wing.