Notice for readers: On March 31, Neotropical Birds will be integrated into the new Birds of the World, a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth. Learn more at While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Stay tuned.

Black Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma melania


This all-black storm-petrel with a forked tail and long, angular wings is confined to the northeast Pacific Ocean, where it breeds, in loose colonies, on a handful of islands off southern California, Baja California and in the Sea of Cortez, and the total population is speculated to number in the region of half a million birds. It moves south, and to a lesser extent north, in the non-breeding season (November–February at least), during which period it reaches as far as northern Peru, usually in warmer water than the similar Markham’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma markhami), which has a more distinct upperwing bar and a more deeply forked tail.

Help complete this species

There are many ways to contribute—we need species information, photographs, audio, video, translations, maps, distribution data, and bird sightings. There's a role for everyone!

Learn more

© Richard D. Chandler

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Black Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma melania), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: