Fork-tailed Storm-petrel

The Fork-tailed Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma furcata) is a small seabird of the storm-petrel family Hydrobatidae.


It is 20-23 cm in length, with a wingspan of 46 cm. It is the only Storm-petrel gray in color.


In North America, it breeds on islands 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. The Fork-tailed Storm-petrel also breeds on the Kuril Islands off Kamchatka.

It spends the rest of the year at sea, usually spending its time over colder waters. It can be seen well offshore down the Pacific coast to central California on the North American side, and down to Japan on the Asian side.

Breeding / Nesting

This bird breeds in rock crevices or small burrows in soft earth and lays a single white egg. Like most petrels, its walking ability is limited to a short shuffle to the burrow. It is a colonial nester.

Fork-tailed Storm-petrel (Oceanodroma furcata)

Diet / Feeding

It feeds on mainly planktonic crustaceans, small fish and squid. It will also take offal (= entrails and internal organs of butchered animals). It feeds similarly to other Storm-petrels, picking food of the surface of the water while in flight. This bird does follow ships.


  • BirdLife International (2004). Oceanodroma furcata. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes a brief justification of why this species is of least concern ,and the criteria used
  • “National Geographic” Field Guide to the Birds of North America ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
  • Seabirds, an Identification Guide by Peter Harrison, (1983) ISBN 0-7470-1410-8
  • Handbook of the Birds of the World Vol 1, Josep del Hoyo editor, ISBN 84-87334-10-5
  • “National Audubon Society” The Sibley Guide to Birds, by David Allen Sibley, ISBN 0-679-45122-6
Photo of author

Team Beauty of Birds's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

You can meet our team here.