Storm-petrels are rather small and often dark colored tubenoses with a world wide distribution. All have fine black bills with very pronounced tubes. Storm Petrels are separated in two groups: the long legged, Southern Hemisphere birds subfamily Oceanitinae and the shorter legged species of more northern seas the subfamily Hydrobatinae. The first groups shows more morphological differences than the second. Warham (1990) treated the morphological differences and will be cited below. The genera are characterised on colour patterns, the condition of the nasal tubes, tail shape, structure of claws and proportions of the leg bones.

Subfamily Oceanitinae

Genus Oceanites

Plumage black with white upper- and under-tail coverts and sometimes white on the abdomen; bil short, nasal tubes long (about half length of culme); tarsus booted (scales fused to a continuous sheath) or with obscure scutes; claws little flattened, webs yellow.

  • Wilson's Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus. Two subspecies:
    • O. o. oceanicus. Subantarctic islands, south of the Antarctic Polar Front
    • O. o. exasperatus. Slightly larger than nominate subspecies. Antarctic mainland, islands Scotia Sea
  • White-vented Storm Petrel Oceanites gracilis. North-eastern Pacific. Two subspecies:
    • O. g. gracilis. Breeds Equador and Chile.
    • Lowe's Storm Petrel O. g. galapagoensis. Breeds Galapagos Is.
  • New Zealand Storm Petrel Oceanites maorianus. Recently rediscovered, breeding New Zealand.

Genus Garrodia

Plumage grey on black, white below; bill short, nasal tubes about half length of culmen and upturned at end; tarsus scutellate in fornt, claws slightly flattened, webs black.

  • Grey-backed Storm Petrel Garodia nereis. Southern Oceans, breeds on many islands

Genus Pelagodroma

Plumage grey and white; tails slightly forked; bill long, nasal tube < half culmen in length; tarsus booted in front, webs black, basal joint middle toe flattened, claws blunt and flattened.

  • White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina. Widespread in all oceans. Six subspecies:
    • P. m. marina. Breeding Tristan da Cunha Group and Gough I.
    • P. m. hypoleca, Breeding Salvage Is.
    • P. m. eadesi. Breeding Cape Verde and Canary Is.
    • P. m. dulciae, Islands off West and Southwest Australia and Tasmania.
    • P. m. mariana, Islands off New Zealand, Chathams and Auckland Is.
    • P. m. albiclunis. Kermadec Is.

White-faced Storm Petrel
Pelagodroma marina hypoleuca 1) Selvagem Grande
Culmen: 16.8 mm; tube: 6.0 mm; total: 43.5 mm, unsexed adult

Genus Fregetta

Plumage black above, white below and white upper tail coverts; nasal tube free at end and upturned, half culmen in length; tarsus booted in front, webs black, basal joint middle toe flattened, claws blunt and flattened.

  • Black-bellied Storm Petrel Fregetta tropica. Two subspecies:
    • F. t. tropica, Auckland, Antipodes, Kerguelen, Crozet and Prince Edward Is.
    • F. t. melanoleuca, Gough Island
  • White-bellied Storm Petrel Fregetta grallaria
    • F. g. grallaria, Roach Island, Kermadec Is.
    • F. g. leucogaster, Tristand da Cunha group, Gough and St Paul's Island
    • F. g. segheti, Juan Fernadez Islands
    • F. g. titan, Rapa

Genus Nesofregetta

Large storm petrels; plumage black above, white throat and belly ranging to to all dark below; tail stronlgy forked; tarsus uniquely anterio-posteriorly flattened, unscaled; basal phalanges of toes longer than remainder of toe and claw; webs narrow; claws blunt and flattened.

  • White-throated Storm Petrel Nesofregetta fuliginosa. Western tropical Pacific, breeds on many islands.

Subfamily Hydrobatinae

Genus Halocyptena

Very small black petrels; bill weak, compressed and decirved; tail wedge shaped; wings rather long and pointed; tarsus rather short - slightly longer than mid-toe with claw and about half length of femur, claws narrow.

  • Least Storm Petrel Halocyptena microsoma. North-east Pacific Ocean. Breeds on islands off Baja California and Gulf of California.

Genus Hydrobates

Small petrels; plumage black with white rump; tail square; tarsus scutelate in front, slightly longer than middle toe with claw and about half length of femur, claws narrow

  • European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus. Breeds eastern North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea.
  • Mediterranean Storm-Petrel Hydrobates melittensis. Mediterranean Sea

British Storm Petrel
Hydrobates pelagicus. Netherlands
Culmen: 15.2 mm; tube: 6.2 mm; total: 40.2 mm; unsexed adult

Genus Oceanodroma

Medium-sized petrels; plumage dark or greyish, often with pale rumps; tail more or less forked; tarsus short , middle toe with claw and scutellate; claws narrow.

  • Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel Oceanodroma tethys. Seas off western South America.
    • O. t. tethys. Breeds Galapagos Is.
    • O. t. kelsali. Breeds on islands off the Peruvian coast.
  • Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro. Hot-season breeder of the Madeiran Archipelago, Canary Islands and Selvagens.
  • Monteiro's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monteiroi. Hot-season breeder of the Azores.
  • Grant's Storm Petrel. Oceanodroma. Cool season breeder of the Azores, Berlengas, Canary Islands, Madeiran Archipelago and Selvagens. (Tentative species, not yet confirmed)
  • Cape Verde Storm Petrel. Oceanodroma jabejabe. Cape Verdes.
  • Swinhoe's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis.
  • Leach's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa. Four subspecies:
    • O. l. leucorhoa, North Pacific and North Atantic.
    • O. l. chapmani, San Benito, Los Coronados, islands off Baja California.
    • O. l. socorrensis, islands off Guadeloupe.
    • O. l. cheimomnestis, Guadeloupe, Mexico.
  • Guadeloupe Storm Petrel Oceanodroma (leucorhoa) macrodactyla. Guadeloupe and Mexican Is.
  • Markham's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma markhami, Off western South and Central America.
  • Tristram's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma tristrami, Islands central North Pacific.
  • Black Storm Petrel Oceanodroma melania, Off Central America.
  • Matsudaira's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma matsudairae, Off Japan, Eastern North Pacific, Indian Ocean
  • Ashy Storm Petrel Oceanodroma homochroa, Off Mexico and California.
  • Hornby's or Ringed Storm Petrel Oceanodroma hornbyi, Off western South America.
  • Fork-tailed Storm Petrel Oceanodroma furcata. Two subspecies:
    • O. f. furcata, Commander and Aleutian Islands.
    • O. f. plumbea, Western North America.

Madeiran Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma castro 2) Villa Islet, Azores
Culmen: 13.5 mm; tube: 5.5 mm; total: 40.4 mm, unsexed adult

Leach's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa 3) Netherlands
Culmen: 16.5 mm; tube: 5.9 mm; total: 41.6 mm; unsexed adult

Fork-tailed Storm Petrel Oceanodroma furcata plumbea 4) Alaska
Culmen: 15.1 mm; tube: 6.1 mm; total: 43.4 mm

1) Courtesy of B. Zonfrillo, Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland
2) Courtesy of Joel Bried, Univ. of Horta, Faial, Azores
3) Courtesy of Kees Camphuysen, NIOZ, Netherlands
4) Courtesy of Tasha, Alaska