Swinhoe's Storm-petrel Oceanodroma monorhis (Swinhoe, 1867)

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae Status: Vagrant to Madeira

Recommended birdwatching sea trips to watch this seabird

Zino’s Petrel Pelagic Expedition - observed twice

Swinhoe's Storm-petrel Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A medium to large storm petrel with long and pointed wings and relatively long, forked tail which is normally closed in flight.

Colour Pattern

This seabird is all brownish-black coloured with no other distinct colours. Only when observed at close range some pale buff upperwing bars and some some white shafts on the base of the primaries are visible.


In the Atlantic it is normally observed singly though often associated with other storm petrels. In Madeira it came to feed on a chum slick with Madeiran storm petrels once and on another occasion the slick was populated with ca. 30 European storm petrels.


Oceanodroma monorhis is a highly offshore seabird, away from its known colonies in NW Pacific and a long-distance migrant. Its a common wintering bird in the West Pacific and Indian Ocean.

Distinction from similar species

In the Northeast Atlantic it might be easily confused with Bulwer’s Petrel, being the Swinhoe’s petrel’s smaller size, forked tail and stronger wing beats jizz the best ways to distinguish it. It can also resemble a dark-rumped form of Leach’s storm-petrel.

Oceanodroma monorhis Biometrics

Wingspan: 450 - 480 mm (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Total length: 180 - 210 mm (Flood & Ashley, 2011)
Weight: 38 - 43 g (Flood & Ashley, 2011)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: only 3 records around Madeira island, late April, early June and late September
Breeding: It was known as breeding seabird from the Pacific Ocean where it starts in April but the increasing records of this species in the Atlantic and the ones caught in Selvagens Islands suggest there might be a breeding colony in the Atlantic


Madeira local status by Correia-Fagundes et al, 2021: Occasional
Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Very rare, possible breeder (in Selvagens islands)
Madeira local status by Zino et al, 1995: Exceptional, possible breeder Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Near Threatened ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Paínho de Swinhoe
German: Swinhoewellenläufer
Dutch: Chinees Stormvogeltje
Swedish: Swinhoes stormsvala
Danish: Mørkrygget Stormsvale
Finish: Pikkukeiju
Norwegian: Japanstormsvale
Spanish: Paíño de Swinhoe
French: Océanite de Swinhoe
Italian: Uccello delle tempeste di Swinhoe
Polish: Nawalnik brunatny
Slovak: Víchrovníček malý
Czech: Buřňáček vlaštovčí
English synonyms: Swinhoe's Petrel

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