Gray-backed Storm-Petrel Garrodia nereis

  • Order: Procellariiformes
  • Family: Oceanitidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Jacob Drucker and Guy M. Kirwan
  • © Ian Smissen

The sole member of the genus Garrodia, although it is sometimes also placed in Oceanites, Gray-backed Storm-Petrel breeds on scarcely more than a handful of archipelagos scattered virtually throughout the Southern Ocean. In the Neotropical region, it is confined as a breeder to the Falkland Islands, as well as just outside it on South Georgia; however, the species’ current status on the first-named group is unclear. This is a diminutive storm-petrel characterised by its all dark head, throat and upperparts, with a square ended tail, pale gray rump, and white breast and posterior underparts. Its flight is fast and fluttering, on conspicuously buoyant wingbeats, as it almost bounds forward close above the sea’s surface, searching for small fish and crustaceans. Less pelagic than many petrels, it prefers waters close to the continental shelf. On land, it breeds in colonies, more occasionally alone, in dense grassland or steep terrain, and lays a single egg. Although its overall population is not large by the standards of many seabirds, being variously considered to lie between 100,000 and 200,000 breeding pairs, the Gray-backed Storm-Petrel is not considered to be globally threatened, despite that cats and rats are known to take adults and young, and Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) are thought to be a significant predator on the Falklands.

Audio needed
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Drucker, J. and G. M. Kirwan (2013). Gray-backed Storm-Petrel (Garrodia nereis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.