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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Brown and McCormick's skuas and Wilson's petrels fly as far as temperate latitudes of the northern hemisphere.
▪ But my children were as amazed at this strange petrel with its eerie call as I had hoped they would be.
▪ By day, a colony of petrels or shearwaters is a quiet, apparently deserted place.
▪ Fulmars, gannets and an occasional storm petrel performed aerobatics in our wake.
▪ In summer petrels nest in crevices in the rocks, and colonies of penguins breed on nearby islands.
▪ Thomas Campbell Eyton wanted as many petrels as Gould could capture for a monograph on the Procellaridae.
▪ We identified two different types of albatross, four species of petrel, and a tern.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Petrel \Pe"trel\, n. [F. p['e]trel; a dim. of the name Peter, L. Petrus, Gr. ? a stone (
--John i. 42); -- probably so called in allusion to St. Peter's walking on the sea. See Petrify.] (Zo["o]l.) Any one of numerous species of longwinged sea birds belonging to the family Procellarid[ae]. The small petrels, or Mother Carey's chickens, belong to {Oceanites}, {Oceanodroma}, {Procellaria}, and several allied genera.

Diving petrel, any bird of the genus Pelecanoides. They chiefly inhabit the southern hemisphere.

Fulmar petrel, Giant petrel. See Fulmar.

Pintado petrel, the Cape pigeon. See under Cape.

Pintado petrel, any one of several small petrels, especially Procellaria pelagica, or Mother Carey's chicken, common on both sides of the Atlantic.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

seabird, 1670s, pitteral, modern spelling first recorded 1703 by English explorer William Dampier (1651-1715), who wrote the bird was so called from its way of flying with its feet just skimming the surface of the water, which recalls the apostle's walk on the sea of Galilee (Matt. xiv:28); if so, it likely was formed in English as a diminutive of Peter (Late Latin Petrus). If this is folk etymology, the true source of the name is undiscovered. French pétrel (1760) probably is from English.


n. Any of various species of black, grey, or white seabirds in the order ''Procellariiformes''.


n. relatively small long-winged tube-nosed bird that flies far from land

Petrel (rocket)

The Petrel was a British sounding rocket. The Petrel 1 was launched, like the Skua 1, with 3 Chick booster rockets. The Chick motors were fitted into a Booster Carriage that also carried the two parachutes that brought it back to earth for re-use. The Petrel 1 was 3.34 m long, had a diameter of 19 cm and reached a maximum altitude of 140 kilometers. It was fired from a barrel launcher approximately .

The Petrel was first flown on June 8, 1967, in South Uist. In 1977 an improved version, the Petrel 2, with a maximum height of 175 kilometers was used for the first time. The Petrel was also fired from ESRANGE at Kiruna in Sweden in 1971, and from the range on Andoya, an island off the Norwegian coast in 1973. One launcher was installed at Kiruna, while two were installed on Andoya. Both could be loaded, but only one was elevated at a time. Two launchers allowed successive firings, one as an event came up and another as it decayed.

To facilitate one experiment, a Petrel payload released gas clouds at apogee. The wife of one of the firing team members reported that strange lights were being seen in the night sky from Scotland.

Petrel (disambiguation)

Petrel can refer to

  • Petrel, a type of tube-nosed seabird
  • Petrel (reservoir software), petroleum reservoir software
  • Petrel (rocket), a British sounding rocket
  • Petrel Base, an Argentine base in Antarctica
  • Petrel Island (disambiguation)
  • Petrel, Alicante, a town in Spain
  • San Antonio de Petrel, a town in Chile
  • Percival Petrel, a 1930s British communications aircraft
  • USS Petrel, four ships in the United States Navy
  • AQM-41 Petrel, an antisubmarine missile used by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s
Petrel (reservoir software)

Petrel is a software platform used in the exploration and production sector of the petroleum industry. It allows the user to interpret seismic data, perform well correlation, build reservoir models, visualize reservoir simulation results, calculate volumes, produce maps and design development strategies to maximize reservoir exploitation. Risk and uncertainty can be assessed throughout the life of the reservoir. Petrel is developed and built by Schlumberger.


Petrels are tube-nosed seabirds in the bird order Procellariiformes. The common name does not indicate relationship beyond that point, as "petrels" occur in three of the four families within that group (except the albatross family, Diomedeidae). Having a fossil record that was assumed to extend back at least 60 million years, the Procellariiformes was long considered to be among the older bird groupings, other than the ratites, with presumably distant ties to penguins and loons. However, recent research and fossil finds such as Vegavis show that the Galliformes ( pheasants, grouse and relatives), and Anseriformes ( ducks, geese) are still not fully resolved.

All the members of the order are exclusively pelagic in distribution — returning to land only to breed.

The family Procellariidae is the main radiation of medium-sized true petrels, characterised by united nostrils with medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. It is dominant in the Southern Oceans, but not so in the Northern Hemisphere.

It includes a number of petrel groups, the relationships between which have finally been resolved to satisfaction.

  • The fulmarine petrels: seven species of surface predators and filter feeders, breed in high latitudes but migrate along cool currents to the north. All but Fulmarus are essentially confined to the south, Fulmarus apparently colonised the Northern Hemisphere during the Early Miocene.
    • The huge giant petrels, genus Macronectes, which are convergent with the albatrosses
    • The true fulmars, genus Fulmarus
    • Antarctic petrel Thalassoica antarctica
    • Cape petrel Daption capense
    • Snow petrel Pagodroma nivea
  • The prions: A specialised group of a few very numerous species, all southern. They have a small, fulmar-like form and mostly filter-feed on zooplankton.
    • Pachyptila, the prions proper
  • The procellariine petrels, larger or mid-sized species feeding on fish and molluscs which are fairly close to the prions:
    • Procellaria
    • Bulweria
  • Shearwaters: numerous species in several genera with a medium number of species.
    • Calonectris
    • Puffinus, which is in fact two rather distinct groups of larger and smaller species
    • Pseudobulweria
    • Kerguelen petrel Lugensa brevirostris
  • The gadfly petrels: These are a considerable number of agile short-billed petrels in the genus Pterodroma which include the endangered Bermuda petrel or cahow and a considerable number of forms rendered extinct by human activity.

The family Hydrobatidae is the storm petrels, small pelagic petrels with a fluttering flight which often follow ships.

The family Pelecanoididae is the four species of diving petrels, genus Pelacanoides. These are auk-like small petrels of the southern oceans.

The word "petrel" comes from the Latin name for the Christian Saint Peter, and refers to the habits of certain species to hover just above the ocean waves, with their feet barely touching the water, thus giving an appearance of walking on water, as St. Peter is said to have done.

Usage examples of "petrel".

Pacific Ocean, faunas of Paley, on no organ formed to give pain Pallas, on the fertility of the wild stocks of domestic animals Paraguay, cattle destroyed by flies Parasites Partridge, dirt on feet Parts greatly developed, variable, degrees of utility of Parus major Passiflora Peaches in United States Pear, grafts of Pelargonium, flowers of, sterility of Peloria Pelvis of women Period, glacial Petrels, habits of Phasianus, fertility of hybrids Pheasant, young, wild Pictet, Prof.

And I wriggled and struggled and finally got my arms out of the ropes, for the Petrels had not done a very seamanlike job of tying me up.

Hence we can understand, bearing in mind that each organic being is trying to live wherever it can live, how it has arisen that there are upland geese with webbed feet, ground woodpeckers, diving thrushes, and petrels with the habits of auks.

Pacific Ocean, faunas of Paley, on no organ formed to give pain Pallas, on the fertility of the wild stocks of domestic animals Paraguay, cattle destroyed by flies Parasites Partridge, dirt on feet Parts greatly developed, variable, degrees of utility of Parus major Passiflora Peaches in United States Pear, grafts of Pelargonium, flowers of, sterility of Peloria Pelvis of women Period, glacial Petrels, habits of Phasianus, fertility of hybrids Pheasant, young, wild Pictet, Prof.

French, the stormy petrel of the war, had flitted on from Cape Town to Modder River, where a larger prize than Colesberg awaited him.

Outward bound, and off the pitch of Cape Horn, he used to sit on the taffrail, and keep the steward loading three or four old fowling pieces, with which he would bring down albatrosses, Cape pigeons, jays, petrels, and divers other marine fowl, who followed chattering in our wake.

Terns, gulls, and petrels, all hinds of sea birds frequent this sanctuary, and its porch is cooled by the continual fanning of their wings still moist from the sea.

Flocks of terns and petrels took to the skies in panic, adding to the confusion, while flying foxes glided madly from tree to tree, seeking refuge from the noise, fire, and general chaos.

The condor lays a couple of eggs and the ostrich a score, and yet in the same country the condor may be the more numerous of the two: the Fulmar petrel lays but one egg, yet it is believed to be the most numerous bird in the world, One fly deposits hundreds of eggs, and another, like the hippobosca, a single one.

Sometimes he took on the shape of a fulmar petrel, sometimes of a diving bird.

A hook-beaked fulmar petrel that stalked the strand line along the coast.

You will recall that last time, when the giant petrel covered me with oil, you said I might be excused.

During this time a thin gleam broke through the fog, and although Stephen could not distinguish anything but a single giant petrel he did have the pleasure of seeing even greater masses of ice fall from the high cliffs above the low-lying mist, masses the size of a house that either shattered at the foot of the mountain or plunged straight into the sea, sending up vast fountains of water: scores of these monstrous great blocks.

These little birds abound in the pack-ice, but the blue-grey southern fulmar and the Antarctic petrel were also to be seen, and that unwholesome scavenger, the giant petrel, frequently lumbered by.

At 6:20, Eula Lemoy told Millicent McIlhaney that Lamont Petrel had tried to poison every last soul in town and was now hiding out in a brothel in Little Rock or maybe Pine Bluff.