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The Cape petrel is a stocky medium sized petrel with a unique blackish (very dark brown) and white checkered pattern on its upperwings and rump. The head, neck and terminal tail band are dark with a white belly, breast and underwings. Length is 38-40 cm (15 inches) with a wingspan of 81-91 cm (33 inches).
Widely distributed around the Southern Ocean. They nest in small colonies on cliffs or level ground within a short distance from the ocean.