Family Northern Storm-petrels (Hydrobatidae)

Least Concern

European Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus)


French: Océanite tempête German: Sturmschwalbe Spanish: Paíño europeo

Procellaria pelagica


, 1758,



Often treated as monotypic, but Mediterranean population found to differ both morphologically#R and genetically#R from N ones. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. p. pelagicus (Linnaeus, 1758) – E Atlantic Ocean, breeding in NE Atlantic, from S Iceland and W Norway S through N & W Britain to NW France, N Spain and Canary Is.
  • H. p. melitensis#R (Schembri, 1843) – Mediterranean from E Spain E to Greece, and possibly Turkey.
  • 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. (2019). European Storm-petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus). 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 22 September 2019).