Black-bellied Storm Petrel Fregetta tropica (Gould, 1844)

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae Status: Vagrant to Madeira

Recommended birdwatching sea trips to watch this seabird

Zino’s Petrel Pelagic Expedition

Black-bellied Storm Petrel Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

Fairly large storm petrel with broad wings, square tail and toes often projected beyond tail.

Colour Pattern

Black and white seabird with upperside grayish-black with a white rump. The underside is mainly white with a dark longitudinal central band that is not so easy to see at sea.


Pelagic bird normally seen offshore. It is often seen in association with Wilson’s Storm Petrel. (Howell, 2012)
The flight description of the first record of this species to the Western Palearctic, is that “its flying behaviour resembled the bouncing movement of a Wilson’s Storm-petrel, but with higher and longer ‘jumps’.” (Correia-Fagundes & Romano, 2011)


Fregetta tropica breeds from October to April in the sub-antarctic islands and moves northward from May to September to subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean

Distinction from similar species

It is easily mistaken with White-bellied storm petrel Fregetta grallariabeing the key features to distinguish them the chin - white on Fregetta tropica and dark on Fregetta grallaria - and the lack of the central longitudinal dark band on the White-bellied storm petrel.

Fregetta tropica Biometrics

Wingspan: 450 - 460 mm (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Total length: 200 mm (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Weight: 43 - 63 g (Flood & Ashley, 2011)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: It was only recorded once in Madeira on the 8th of August 2011 though the 2nd record for the western palearctic was around Canary islands on the 10th of September that same year (Lopez-velasco & Sagardia, 2011).


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Only 1 record
Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2011a: Only 1 record
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Least Concern ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Painho-de-barriga-preta
German: Schwarzbauch-Sturmschwalbe
Dutch: Zwartbuikstormvogeltje
Swedish: Svartmagad stormsvala
Danish: Sortbuget Fregatstormsvale
Finish: Tummatyrskynpolkija
Norwegian: Svartbukstormsvale
Spanish: Paíño Ventrinegro
French: Océanite à ventre noir
Italian: Uccello delle tempeste ventrenero
Polish: Oceannik czarnobrzuchy
Slovak: Búrkozvest čiernobruchý
Czech: Buřňáček černobřichý
English synonyms: Dusky-vented Storm-petrel

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