Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro (Harcourt, 1851)
Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae Status: Breeding in Madeira
Recommended birdwatching sea trips to watch this seabird
Madeiran Storm Petrel Field ID Keys
Shape & Size
A medium to large storm petrel with long wings and tail square to slightly notched.
Black and white seabird. The white rump extends to the lateral and under-tail coverts. Body is almost uniformly blackish brown to black with some paler, but not very contrasting, upper-wing band.
Undulating flight with incomplete wingbeats interrupted with short glides on a zigzag trajectory. The Madeiran Storm-petrel is not easily seen at sea being the best conditions, to attract it on an offshore pelagic trip, strong wind together with a slick of fish oil.
This species is widely distributed throughout the world, being found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on the Saint Helena and Ascension islands and on the Galapagos archipelago. In Macaronesia, it is found in the Madeira, Azores and Canary archipelagos.
Distinction from similar species
Oceanodroma castro might be confused with Oceanodroma leucorhoa
(Leach’s storm petrel) being the main differences the paler band on the upper-wing which is more contrasting in Leach’s and extends to the wing bend, the white rump that looks more like a ‘V? than a ‘U’ on the later one and the deeply forked tail of Leach’s, when visible.
Oceanodroma castro Biometrics
Wingspan: 430 - 490 mm (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Total length: 190 - 220 mm (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Weight: 40 - 50 g (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Other Bird Facts
Seasonality in Madeira: All year round as there are winter and summer breeding colonies of Oceanodroma castro in Madeira
Breeding: It breeds in all islands of Madeira archipelago, except for the island of Porto Santo – although it does breed on the sea rocks surrounding that island. Madeira Storm-petrel has two breeding seasons, one in spring and the other in autumn. One egg is laid per sitting and incubation takes between 38 and 42 days. Both parents take turns in sitting on the egg, staying on the nest for periods of 2 to 6 days at a time. The chick remains in the nest for 68/73 days after hatching.
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Common breeding bird
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Very common breeding bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1
Name of this species in other languages
Portuguese: Roque de Castro, Paínho, Roquinho, Paínho-da-ilha-da-madeira
Spanish: Paíño de Madeira
French: Océanite de Castro
Italian: Uccello delle tempeste di Castro
Polish: Nawałnik białorzytny
Slovak: Víchrovníček černastý
Czech: Buřňáček madeirský
English synonyms: Band-rumped Storm Petrel
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