Wilson's Storm-petrel

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Wilson's Storm-petrel
Missing image
Oceanites_oceanicus_drawing.jpg
Wilson's Storm-petrel


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Procellariiformes
Family:Hydrobatidae
Genus:Oceanites
Species:O. oceanicus
Binomial name
Oceanites oceanicus
Kuhl, 1820

The Wilson's Storm-petrel or Wilson's Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) is a small seabird of the storm-petrel family Hydrobatidae.

It breeds on the Antarctic coastlines and nearby islands such as the South Shetland Islands. It nests in colonies close to the sea in rock crevices and lays a single white egg.

Missing image
Stormy_petrel.jpg
Wilson's Petrel, painted by John James Audubon

It spends the rest of the year at sea, and moves into the northern oceans in the southern hemisphere's winter. It is much more common in the north Atlantic than the Pacific.

It is strictly pelagic outside the breeding season, and this, together with its remote breeding sites, makes Wilson's Petrel a difficult bird to see from land. Only in severe storms might this species be pushed into headlands.

It is common off eastern North America in the northern summer and the seasonal abundance of this bird in suitable European waters has been revealed through pelagic boat trips, most notably in the area of the Isles of Scilly, Great Britain. This may be the world's commonest seabird.

This storm-petrel is strictly nocturnal at the breeding sites to avoid predation by gulls and skuas, and will even avoid coming to land on clear moonlit nights. Like most petrels, its walking ability is limited to a short shuffle to the burrow.

The Wilson's Petrel is a small bird, 16-18.5 cm in length with a 38-42 cm wingspan. It is slightly larger than the European Storm-petrel. It is essentially dark brown in all plumages, except for white rump. It differs from the that species by its pale bar on the upper wing, plain underwings and longer legs.

It has a more direct gliding flight than Storm Petrel, but shares the habit of pattering on the water surface as it picks planktonic food items from the ocean surface, though with more upraised wings. Like European Storm-petrel, it is highly gregarious, and will also follow ships.

This bird is named after the Scottish-American ornithologist Alexander Wilson. de:Buntfu▀-Sturmschwalbe pl:Nawa┼énik_┼╝├│┼étop┼éetwy

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