1. any of several small diving birds of southern hemisphere seas
; somewhat resemble auks
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Petrel \Pe"trel\, n. [F. p['e]trel; a dim. of the name Peter, L.
Petrus, Gr. pe`tros a stone (--John i. 42); -- probably so
called in allusion to St. Peter's walking on the sea. See
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.
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):
n 1: any of several small diving birds of southern hemisphere
seas; somewhat resemble auks