Storm-petrels are rather small and often dark colored tubenoses with a world wide distribution. All have fine black bills with very pronounced tubes. Storm Petrels are separated in two groups: the long legged, Southern Hemisphere birds subfamily Oceanitinae and the shorter legged species of more northern seas the subfamily Hydrobatinae. The first groups shows more morphological differences than the second. The genera are characterised on colour patterns, the condition of the nasal tubes, tail shape, structure of claws and proportions of the leg bones. The genus Oceanites have their plumage black with white upper- and under-tail coverts and sometimes white on the abdomen; bil short, nasal tubes long (about half length of culme); tarsus booted (scales fused to a continuous sheath) or with obscure scutes; claws little flattened, webs yellow.
|wingspan min.:||36||cm||wingspan max.:||40||cm|
|size min.:||15||cm||size max.:||16||cm|
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Video Elliots Storm-petrel
copyright: Peter Fraser
Oceanites gracilis occupies tropical waters of the eastern Pacific Ocean, where it is numerous. Prior to 2003, only one nest had ever been found, on Isla Chungungo, Chile (where rats and fire may have caused a decline). During surveys of the island on 6-11 January 2002 three crevices containing perhaps 11 nests were located in the north-east part of the island. Suitable sites are limited on the island, and alternative sites may be too disturbed by nesting Humboldt Penguins Spheniscus humboldti1. No evidence of rodents or marsupials was found, although the presence of the Short-tailed Snake Tachymenis chilensis may be cause for concern1. A breeding population (subspecies galapagoensis) of several thousands is suspected for the Galapagos, Ecuador.