Family Southern Storm-petrels (Oceanitidae)

Least Concern

Black-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta tropica)


French: Océanite à ventre noir German: Schwarzbauch-Sturmschwalbe Spanish: Paíño ventrinegro

Thalassidroma tropica


, 1844,

equatorial regions of Atlantic Ocean


In past, often lumped with F. grallaria; relationships between these two are complicated and confused, especially at Tristan da Cunha and Gough I; proposed race melanoleuca (Tristan da Cunha) may be invalid or may be referable to F. grallaria. Considerable individual variation in plumage tends to obscure geographical variation in this complex; most forms described as races are usually ascribed to F. grallaria. Monotypic.


Tropical and subtropical major oceans; circumpolar breeding, from islands of Scotia Arc through S Indian Ocean to Antipodes Is. Possible presence at Tristan da Cunha and Gough I requires confirmation.

Descriptive notes

19·5–21 cm; 43–63 g; wingspan 43–46 cm. Near-black storm-petrel with toes projecting slightly beyond tail tip, white uppertail-coverts, most of... read more


Two main vocalizations, both usually given from within or close to nest-sites (it is currently... read more


Marine and highly pelagic, rarely approaching land except near colonies; may be associated with... read more

Food and feeding

Squid, crustaceans and small fish recorded during breeding season, with diet at South Georgia estimated at 90% crustacea and 10% fish (by... read more


Most complete studies on Signy I (South Orkneys), the Crozets and South Shetlands. Return to colonies starts Sept (Prince Edward Is, Crozet... read more


During breeding season is mainly found S of Antarctic Polar Front. Post-breeding, migrates N into... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread, with total population estimated at c. 100,000–150,000 breeding pairs and c. 500,000 individuals, broken down as... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Black-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta tropica). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 January 2019).