Wilson's Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus

  • Order: Procellariiformes
  • Family: Oceanitidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Jacob Drucker



See Food for a description of the feeding behavior of Wilson's Storm-Petrel. The following description is based on Howell (2012):

"Transiting flight usually fairly low and direct over the water, with no banking or weaving and only short glides, the wings held straight out and not strongly crooked. Wingbeats usually quick, stiff, and fairly shallow, (recalling a barn swallow), the upstroke looking quicker and flicking, the downstroke stronger. In calm conditions, sometimes sustains direct flapping flight 3-5 meters above sea for hundreds of meters. In strong winds, can glide hundreds of meters with little or no flapping, flying in low, long-wave-length arcs much like larger tubenoses. Also 'kicksails' like larger Fregetta storm-petrels, especially when transiting into and across the wind. Birds in heavy wing molt need to flap quicker and appear even more fluttery in contrast to full-winged birds that glide and sail strongly and more easily."

May form rafts on water, often composed of first-year birds (Murphy 1936).

Wilson's Storm-Petrel often follows boats and is attracted to chum slicks.


Nests colonially.

Sexual Behavior

Socially monogomous.

Social and interspecific behavior

Wilson's Storm-Petrel often congregates in flocks of hundreds or even thousands of birds. Often associates loosely with other species of seabirds at concentrations of food. Also forms rafts with other species of storm-petrel.


Chicks of Wilson's Storm-Petrel are predated on by sheathbills (Chionis spp.), Kelp Gulls (Larus dominicanus), and by several species of skuas (Stercorarius spp.) as well as by rats and cats where they occur, such as on the Crozets and Kerguelen (Marchant and Higgins 1990).

The greatest threats to adults are predation by skuas, and by giant-petrels (Macronectes giganteus Southern Giant-Petrel and halli Northern Giant-Petrel) (Marchant and Higgins 1990).

There also is a record of an adult Wilson's Storm-Petrel being consumed at sea by a shark (Marchant and Higgins 1990).

Recommended Citation

Drucker, J. (2013). Wilson's Storm-Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.wispet.01