Family Southern Storm-petrels (Oceanitidae)

Least Concern

Wilson’s Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus)


French: Océanite de Wilson German: Buntfuß-Sturmschwalbe Spanish: Paíño de Wilson

Procellaria oceanica


, 1820,

South Georgia


Smaller race chilensis poorly known and has normally been lumped within nominate, but recent opinion suggests it is probably valid#R#R. Until recent rediscovery, Fregetta maoriana (which see) was tentatively treated as a race of present species. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. o. chilensis Murphy, 1936 – breeds Tierra del Fuego; ranges N at least as far as Peru.
  • O. o. oceanicus (Kuhl, 1820) – all major oceans, breeding on subantarctic islands, from Cape Horn E to Kerguelen and Heard I.
  • O. o. exasperatus Mathews, 1912 – all major oceans, breeding on South Sandwich Is, the islands of Scotia Sea and coastal Antarctica.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–20 cm; 28–50 g; wingspan 34–42 cm. Small blackish storm-petrel with long legs, square-ended tail and white horseshoe on uppertail-coverts. Head and... read more


    From ground, both sexes utter bisyllabic, nasal and highly individual grating call, “aark-aark”,... read more


    Marine; prefers cold waters over continental shelf or inshore, especially during breeding season;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly planktonic crustaceans, especially krill (Euphausia), and fish (Protomyctophum); also small squid, polychaetes,... read more


    Best studied on South Orkney Is, Crozet Is and South Georgia. Starts Nov/Dec, with most breeders usually having returned to colonies by... read more


    Transequatorial migrant; spends off season in middle (subtropical and temperate) latitudes of N... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Traditionally considered one of most abundant of all seabirds and numbers generally considered to be stable, with total population... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Wilson’s Storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus). 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 6 April 2020).