Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro (Harcourt, 1851)

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae Status: Breeding in Madeira

Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

Recommended birdwatching sea trips to watch this seabird

Zino’s Petrel Pelagic Expedition

Madeiran Storm Petrel Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A medium to large storm petrel with long wings and squared to slightly notched tail.

Colour Pattern

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.

Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro


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 with strong wind and 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.

Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

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 which looks more like a ‘V' than a ‘U’ on O. leucorhoa and its deeply forked tail, 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)

Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

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 colonies, one that breeds in the 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 Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Common breeding bird
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

Madeiran Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Roque de Castro, Paínho, Roquinho, Paínho-da-ilha-da-madeira
German: Madeira-Wellenlaeufer
Dutch: Madeirastormvogeltje
Swedish: Oceanlöpare
Danish: Madeirastormsvale
Finish: Madeirankeiju
Norwegian: Passatstormsvale
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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