Wilson’s Petrel

By 08/10/2020Birds

Wilson’s Storm Petrel is commonly regarded as one of the most abundant seabirds, if not one of the most abundant birds in the world, with a world-population reaching several million pairs. The latin species name oceanicus means « of the ocean ».



  • Latin name: Oceanites oceanicus
  • Order: Procellariiformes
  • Family: Oceanitidae
  • Length: 16-19 cm
  • Weight: 28-30 gr
  • Wingspan: 38-42 cm
  • IUCN Status: Least concern

Source: Map Lynx Edicions/BirdLife International


Important: Birds species have different identifying features depending on sex, age and season.

Eye color: Black
Beak: Thin black beak
Leg color: Black, dark brown
Feather colors: Black, brown, white




Wilson’s Storm Petrels feed on the fly, patting, dipping or surface-seizing small food items. In the Azores, they are foraging solitary or in small flocks. Wilson’s Storm Petrels feed mainly on planktonic crustaceans (especially krill), fish, squids, invertebrates.



Wilson’s Storm Petrels burrows in holes and crevices of sea cliffs. In late summer, they leave the Azores to fly southwards to reach the subantarctic and Antarctic islands where they breed during the Winter and the Spring. The incubation of a single egg (white and spotted) lasts at around 41-48 days. The juveniles will reach the fledgling stage, first flight, at around 48-78 days.


Wilson’s Storm Petrels’ vocalization are used on the breeding grounds. At sea, they are mainly silent, but low squeaks are sometimes heard while birds are feeding. Here you can listen to some Wilson’s Storm Petrels chattering recorded at Cape Shirreff, Antarctica.



llustration by Juan M. Varela. Photos from eBird.


About Marylou

Marylou is a Marine Biologist and Master in Oceanography. She is one of our Marine Wildlife Guide and is responsible for Science Education at TERRA AZUL. Originally from France, she studied in Canada and Belgium and loves being out to sea to share her knowledge with you.

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