Family Storm-petrels (Hydrobatidae)

Least Concern

European Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus)


French: Océanite tempête German: Sturmschwalbe Spanish: Paíño Europeo
Other common names: British Storm-petrel

Procellaria pelagica


, 1758,



Mediterranean population might form distinct subspecies (melitensis). Monotypic.


Breeds in NE Atlantic, from S Iceland (Westmann Is) and W & N Norway (E to Barents Sea) S via Faeroe Is to N & W British Isles (also Guernsey), NW France, N Spain and Canary Is (islets of Lanzarote, Tenerife and El Hierro); also in Mediterranean (including Adriatic and Aegean Seas), from E Spain E to Croatia (Vis archipelago) Greece (Prassoudha) and (?) Turkey, with small numbers perhaps also breeding off Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia; in non-breeding season, Atlantic birds at least migrate S to S Africa.

Descriptive notes

14–18 cm; 16–37 g; wingspan 36–39 cm. Small storm-petrel with square tail, contrasting white horseshoe on rump, and obvious white stripe on central... read more


Main vocalizations as follows: purring call, given only by males, mostly from within burrows, is... read more


Marine and pelagic, normally keeping well away from land, except near colonies. Breeds on rocky... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly small fish (Sprattus sprattus, Ammodytes marinus), squid and crustaceans, taken during day; also variety of... read more


Particularly well studied at colonies off Welsh coast. Starts May/Jun, with arrival at breeding sites commencing late Mar (Sicily) or late... read more


At sea in N Hemipshere, mostly found between 10ºC and 25ºC isotherms. Transequatorial... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Total population formerly estimated at 130,000–290,000 breeding pairs, mainly in W Ireland, Faeroe Is, S coast of Iceland and British Isles (... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2014). European Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.) (2014). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 3 September 2014).