Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Date created: 23-January-2017

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae
Number in Britain: 26 thousand Nests (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: Least Concern
Global: Least Concern (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant Breeder
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 16 cm Wingspan: 38 cm Weight: M/F: 27 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: hudro=water + baino=to tread and Gr.: pelagos=the open sea
World Distribution: BREEDS: is of n&w Europe, RANGES: e Atlantic & s Indian oceans
Habitat: Pelagic, breeds in island burrows & crevices
Diet: Mainly surface plankton, small fish, feeds from water surface without alighting
TitBit: Storm Petrels may nest in burrows or holes in stone walls and as they are nocturnal the only way to census them is to play a call (a delightful purring) at a hole and see if a nesting bird responds.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos BTO ID Workshop

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: JNCC Seabird Monitoring Programme
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 26 thousand Nests in
    First Record: St Kilda, 1697
    Latest Survey: Mitchell, P.I. et al. (2004) Seabird populations of Britain and Ireland Poyser, London
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Recent Breeding Population Decline (1981-2007), Recent Winter Population Decline (1981-2007), Recent Breeding Range Decline (1981-2010), Recent Winter Range Decline (1981-2010),
   Previous Assessments: 2009-2014 AMBER     2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 430 to 510 thousand pairs (of which c. 6 % breed in Britain)
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WBD(I), Bern(II)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Summary text from Seabird 2000 (warning: link to large pdf)

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 28 x 21 mm Egg Weight: 6.8 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 5
Clutch Size: 1 eggs
Incubation: 38- 50 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 56 - 73days as: Altricial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.870       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 4 years Typical Lifespan: 11 years
Maximum Age from Ringing: 37 years 0 months 11 days (set in 2011)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: A2 (pulli B2 or A2)
Wing Length Adult: 122.6 ± 3.0 Range 118 - 127 mm, N =22122
Juvenile: 123.1 ± 3.1 119 - 127 mm, N =22
Male: 121.8 ± 2.4 117 - 126 mm, N =126
Female: 122.4 ± 2.5 118 - 126 mm, N =391
Weight Adult: 25.57 ± 4.91 Range 22.50 - 29.10 g , N =20482
Juvenile: 24.80 ± 2.57 20.80 - 29.40 g , N =21
Male: 25.65 ± 2.16 22.40 - 29.90 g , N =109
Female: 27.08 ± 2.72 23.20 - 32.00 g , N =335
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

European Storm Petrel
Gaelic: Annlag-fairge Welsh: Pedryn Drycin
Danish: Lille stormsvale Dutch: Stormvogeltje
Finnish: Merikeiju French: Pétrel tempête
German: Sturmschwalbe Hungarian: Viharfecske
Icelandic: Stormsvala Irish: Guairdeall
Italian: Uccello delle tempeste Norwegian: Havsvale
Polish: Nawalnik burzowy Portuguese: Paínho-de-cauda-quadrada
Spanish: Paíño Europeo Swedish: Stormsvala
Local Names: Little Peter

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Brooke, M. de L. 2004 Albatrosses and petrels across the world Oxford University Press, Oxford [598.44 BRO]
Links from
See Also:
Google Scholar search for scientific papers
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides