Family Northern Storm-petrels (Hydrobatidae)

Least Concern

Fork-tailed Storm-petrel (Hydrobates furcatus)


French: Océanite à queue fourchue German: Gabelschwanz-Wellenläufer Spanish: Paíño rabihorcado

Procellaria furcata

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

icy seas between America and Asia


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. f. furcatus (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – N Pacific, breeding on N Kuril Is, Commander Is and Aleutian Is.
  • H. f. plumbeus (Peale, 1848) – N Pacific, breeding on W coast of North America (Alaska S to N California).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–24 cm; c. 59 g; wingspan 43–52 cm. Medium-sized to rather large grey storm-petrel with large head, short wings and forked tail. Forehead and central... read more


    Very vocal at colonies, with two distinct vocalizations identified: most commonly given is a raspy... read more


    Marine and pelagic, normally occurring over cold waters far from shore. Breeds on offshore islands... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly planktonic crustaceans (especially amphipods), small fish (mainly myctophids) and squid; also takes offal. Study of prey brought to... read more


    Typically starts late Apr/Jun (generally later at higher latitudes and altitudes), but returns to colonies from late Mar (even earlier in... read more


    Apparently disperses over adjacent waters, regularly occurring S to N Japan, off Hokkaido and N... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Abundant, with total population estimated at c. 5,000,000 birds; most nest along coastal Alaska and Aleutian Is, where thought to be increasing, e.g... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Fork-tailed Storm-petrel (Hydrobates furcatus). 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 23 August 2019).