Cape Petrels are distinctively patterned black-and-white on their upper-parts, while their underparts are mostly white. The chin & throat are blackish and the tail has a blackish tip. The under wing is white with black margins and the bill, legs & feet are all black. They breed in colonies on the Antarctic continent, sub-temperate islands near New Zealand and on sub-antarctic islands in the South Atlantic and the South Indian Oceans.
Cape Petrels are distributed across a much wider area of the Southern Ocean than are Antarctic Petrel and Southern Fulmars. In the winter months, Cape Petrels reach Australian seas as far north as 27°S on the east coast and on the west coast to Carnarvon (24°S). The population & breeding status of the Cape Petrel is satisfactory. At some locations, feral cats and rats harass these seabirds during breeding season but the inhospitable nature of their nesting habitat protects them from serious depredation. Cape Petrels lay 1 white egg between November and early December. They generally do not start breeding until they are at least 5 years old. Cape Petrels feed mainly on krill, squid and small fish. They persistently follow ships & boats to take discarded scraps and also scavenge on carcasses.