Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel

Hydrobates furcatus




Northern Storm-Petrels (Hydrobatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Dull white with dark purple and black spots

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

37 - 68

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In soft soil or at base of cliff.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.





Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: Medium-sized storm-petrel with blue-gray upperparts and pale gray underparts. Forehead is dark gray and eye patch is gray. Primaries are darker gray than other flight feathers. Tail is forked and feathers are narrowly white-tipped. Sexes are similar.

Range and Habitat

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: Breeds on islands from southern Alaska and the Aleutian archipelago south to northern California. Occurs throughout the northern Pacific Ocean; rare along the California coast, more common off British Columbia and Alaska. This species is pelagic, only coming ashore during breeding season.

Breeding and Nesting

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: One dull white egg with dark purple and black spots is laid in a burrow on a grassy slope or at the base of a cliff. Incubation ranges from 37 to 68 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: Feeds on small fish and crustaceans; flies low over water, snatching prey without alighting; follows ships.


Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: Silent at sea; on breeding grounds makes twittering and squeaking sounds near nest.

Similar Species

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel: Other storm-petrels are brown-black.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X