WILSON’S STORM PETREL

WILSON’S STORM PETREL(Oceanites oceanicus) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Wilson’s Storm Petrel is dark brown overall in all plumages, with a white rump and white secondaries on the upper wing. The bill, eyes, legs and webbed feet are black, except for the webbing, which is yellow. Sexes are similar. This bird measures approximately 18 cm (7 inches) long.
VOICE: https://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Oceanites-oceanicus
NAME: The name ‘Petrel’ refers to St. Peter walking on the water, because this bird seems to ‘walk’ on the water when feeding. The English name Wilson’s was given to this bird in honor of Scottish-American ornithologist Alexander Wilson. The Latin genus name ‘Oceanites’ is from Greek mythology and stands for ‘sea nymphs’, in reference to the habitat of this species. The species name ‘oceanicus’ means the same thing.
HABITAT: Pelagic (open seas), only comes to land (rocky shores) to breed.
DIET/FEEDING BEHAVIOR: Feed on the water surface by hopping and fluttering, rarely dive. Prey is mainly zooplancton. Feed in flocks and follow ships. Usually found where ocean currents meet and bring zooplancton to the surface.
NESTING: Nests in colonies. Nest built in a chamber at the end of a burrow, or in a rock crevice. Nests only visited at night to prevent predation. Parents may even avoid visiting the nest on clear moonlit nights. One egg is laid, incubated by both parents. Male appears to feed the chick more than the female.
DISTRIBUTION: Overall range encompasses all the oceans starting from the northern mid-latitudes down south to around Antarctica. Breeds along the coasts of Antarctica and nearby islands.
Distribution map: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson%27s_storm_petrel#/media/File:OceanitesDistribution.svg
ON PEI: Does not breed on Prince Edward Island. Sightings uncommon in the summer and fall.
CONSERVATION: Population (estimated at several million) appears stable due to remoteness of breeding range, however nests vulnerable to rats on infested locations. Other threats include over fishing and sea pollution.
NOTES: The Wilson’s storm petrel (or simply Wilson’s petrel) is a small pelagic (living on the open seas) seabird that only comes to land when breeding, or when pushed inland following storms (hence the name).
Tubenose species: Petrels are part of an order of birds that includes seabirds with a ‘tubenose’ bill. The highly specialized bill is made of plates and the nostrils are inside one of them in the shape of a ‘tube’. The birds can drink seawater, and have glands in their bill to extract the salt from the water. Their nostrils also have a self-defensive feature – when threatened they can spit out a foul-smelling oil from that organ. Petrels also have a high sense of olfaction and their bill is equipped to detect food sources near the water surface.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Leach’s Storm Petrel
REFERENCES: http://www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/wilsons-storm-petrel (New Zealand Birds Online)
https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/wilsons-storm-petrel
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson%27s_storm_petrel
http://www.antarctica.gov.au/about-antarctica/wildlife/animals/flying-birds/petrels-and-shearwaters/wilsons-storm-petrel
https://identify.whatbird.com/obj/627/overview/Wilsons_Storm-Petrel.aspx

Wilson's Storm Petrel - East of Tasman Peninsula, Australia - Mar. 14, 2012 - JJ Harrison
Wilson’s Storm Petrel – East of Tasman Peninsula, Australia – Mar. 14, 2012 – JJ Harrison
Wilson's Storm Petrel - off Malpe coast, India - Oct. 16, 2011 - Nanda Ramesh
Wilson’s Storm Petrel – off Malpe coast, India – Oct. 16, 2011 – Nanda Ramesh
Wilson's Storm Petrel with visible yellow webbing - Off Malpe coast, India - Oct. 16, 2011 - Nanda Ramesh
Wilson’s Storm Petrel with visible yellow webbing – Off Malpe coast, India – Oct. 16, 2011 – Nanda Ramesh

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