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Fork-tailed storm-petrel

Oceanodroma furcata

Common name:
fork-tailed storm-petrel (en); paínho-de-cauda-furcada (pt); océanite à queue fourchue (fr); paíño rabihorcado (es); gabelschwanz-wellenläufer (de)
Order Procellariiformes
Family Hydrobatidae
This species is found in the northern Pacific, breeding on the Aleutian islands off Alaska, and on islands along the coasts of British Columbia in Canada and the Pacific Northwest in the United States. They also breed on the Kuril islands off Kamchatka. Outside the breeding season they are mostly found offshore down the Pacific coast to central California on the North American side, and down to Japan on the Asian side.

Fork-tailed storm-petrels are 20-23 cm long and have a wingspan of 46 cm. They weigh 45 g.


They breeds on offshore islands in grassy areas, rocky hillsides or amongst trees, sometimes far from sea. They generally forage on the continental shelves, typically foraging closer to the shore whilst breeding.


They mostly eat planktonic crustaceans, small fish and squid, also taking offal. They feed on the wing or by surface-seizing.

Fork-tailed storm-petrels breed in May-September. The species is monogamous and both sexes invest equally in breeding, nesting in burrows or crevices in talus slopes, but also using burrows they excavate and sometimes using side chambers of other burrowing seabirds. There the female lays 1 egg which is incubated by both parents for 44-56 days. The chicks are fed and brooded by both parents and fledge 60-66 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and a global population estimated at 6 million individuals. The population is suspected to be increasing as several islands have been recolonised following the eradication of introduced predators.
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