Wilson's Storm-Petrel

Kingdom: Animalia      Phylum: Chordata     Class: Aves (Birds)      Order: Ciconiiformes      Family: Procellariidae

Wilson's storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) is a scarce visitor to coastal regions of India.

Identification: Size 15-19 cm. Wingspan: 16 inches. Sexes similar. Pelagic bird only coming ashore to breed. Medium to small storm-petrel. Dark bill with tube on top. Very dark plumage. White rump patch, undertail coverts, and flank patch. Gray carpal bar. Yellow feet sometimes protrude beyond squared or rounded tail. Often patters its feet on water surface. Size and flight style reminiscent of Purple Martin.

Similar species: Other storm petrels are very similar. Black, Ashy, and Least storm-petrels lack the white rump. Wedge-rumped storm-petrel is smaller with a larger rump patch. Band-rumped and Leach's storm petrels are larger with different flight styles and their feet don't protrude beyond the end of their tails. Leach's has a forked tail and a divided or absent rump patch. Band-rumped has a thinner rump patch.

Wilson's Storm-Petrel
Oceanites oceanicus (Kuhl)
Status Common summer visitant. These storm-petrels are regular in offshore waters from April to October, and numbers peak between early June and late August. The earliest record is a bird seen on Georges Bank on 11 April 1983 (R.S. d'Entremont) and the latest was observed close to shore "in a tearing gale and rough seas" at Scots Bay, Kings County, on 11 November 1975 (J. and J.S. Cohrs, M. and R. Anderson).

This bird is far more frequently seen during its relatively short sojourn here than Leach's Storm Petrel. It is found along the entire Scotian Shelf on the Atlantic side of Nova Scotia, and a few birds enter the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The largest numbers, however, occur in the south, at the entrance to the Bay of Fundy and in the region of Browns and Georges banks. On 25 June 1980, R.G.B. Brown counted over 2,500 Wilson's Storm-Petrels at the northeastern edge of Georges Bank, some 220 km south of Cape Sable. At least 2,000 birds were counted off Yarmouth from MV Bluenose on 26 September 1975 (D.W. Finch).

Description Length:18-19 cm. All plumages: The basic plumage pattern is the same as in our other two storm-petrels, but the white rump patch is larger than in Leach's Storm-Petrel and extends further onto the flanks. The tail is not notched and the feet protrude beyond it.

Range Breeds in enormous numbers in the Falklands, and on islands in Tierra del Fuego and around the coasts of Antarctica. Migrates northward into the Pacific and Indian oceans, and in the North Atlantic as far as Labrador. The majority of Atlantic birds winter off New England and southern Nova Scotia.

Remarks Wilson's Storm-Petrel follows ships more readily than does Leach's Storm Petrel. It also has the feeding habit of hovering just above the surface of the water, maintaining its position by paddling with its feet. At such times, the distinctive yellow webs on the feet may be seen. Its shorter, more-rounded wings and swallow-like flight, less erratic than that of Leach's Storm-Petrel, are useful field marks.



Apodiformes Bucerotiformes Ciconiiformes  Columbiformes   Coraciiformes   Cuculiformes


Gruiformes Passeriformes Piciformes Psittaciformes Strigiformes Trogoniformes Turniciformes Upupiformes