Family Southern Storm-petrels (Oceanitidae)

Least Concern

White-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta grallaria)


French: Océanite à ventre blanc German: Weißbauch-Sturmschwalbe Spanish: Paíño ventriblanco

Procellaria grallaria


, 1818,



In past, often treated as conspecific with F. tropica; relationships between these two are complicated and confused, and several further species may be involved; genetic study may supply some answers. Situation particularly muddled with regard to birds of Tristan da Cunha and Gough I, where two different forms appear separable at least on biometrics, those of Gough being smaller and shorter-winged but longer-legged#R; race leucogaster sometimes ascribed to F. tropica; some claim that a white-bellied form of F. tropica occurs in these islands, representing either a morph or possibly a race (melanoleuca); if two different taxa do breed in these islands, name leucogaster would appear to refer to smaller birds (Gough) and melanoleuca to larger ones (Tristan)#R. Very large race titan may be more appropriately treated as a full species. Four subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. g. grallaria (Vieillot, 1818) – White-bellied Storm-petrel – tropical W Pacific Ocean, breeding on Lord Howe I and Kermadec Is.
  • F. g. leucogaster (Gould, 1844) – S Atlantic and S Indian Oceans, breeding on Tristan da Cunha, Gough I and St Paul I#R.
  • F. g. segethi (R. A. Philippi [Krumwiede] & Landbeck, 1860) – SE Pacific Ocean, breeding on Juan Fernández Is and Desventuradas Is#R.
  • F. g. titan Murphy, 1928 – Titan Storm-petrel – S Pacific Ocean, breeding on Rapa, in Austral Is (SC Pacific).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–22 cm; 45–65 g (nominate); wingspan 46–48 cm. Near-black bird with squarish tail beyond which toes do not usually project, white on uppertail-... read more


    Silent at sea, while on land the species’ calls are considered similar to those of F. tropica... read more


    Marine and highly pelagic, rarely approaching land except near colonies; occurs in tropical waters... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very little known; mostly fish and squid (cephalopods) with some crustaceans, but apparently also directly targets sea skaters (Heteroptera... read more


    Latter part of summer, egg-laying starting Jan–Feb (Tristan da Cunha group and Lord Howe Is), with chicks from mid Feb to Apr in... read more


    Apparently disperses N to lower latitudes (e.g. at least to equator in Atlantic), but probably not... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population probably numbers a few thousand breeding pairs; lack of data for some of main sites indicates numbers might be... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-bellied Storm-petrel (Fregetta grallaria). 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 30 March 2020).