Skip to Content

Oceanitidae – Southern Storm-Petrels

Wilson’s Storm Petrel in the Isles of Scilly: Photo by Nathaniel Dargue

Welcome to our guides on Oceanitidae, a fascinating family of seabirds found across the Southern Hemisphere. With their sleek bodies and agile flight, these birds, commonly known as Austral Storm Petrels, are true masters of the ocean’s winds and waves. Despite their diminutive size, they venture far out to sea in search of food, often following ships and feeding on plankton and small fish near the water’s surface. With their remarkable adaptations for life at sea, Oceanitidae exemplify the resilience and resourcefulness of marine avifauna.

Overview of Oceanitidae

Southern storm-petrels, akin to their counterparts in the northern hemisphere, are reminiscent of swallows as they navigate the vastness of the open ocean. Often trailing behind ships or marine mammals, these agile birds display a unique foraging technique: fluttering their wings while delicately skimming the water’s surface with their webbed feet, snatching up planktonic invertebrates and fish. Despite their small stature—some no larger than a sparrow—these intrepid travelers of the southern seas exhibit remarkable mastery over their watery domain, relying on constant flapping rather than soaring to traverse the expansive realms of the world’s oceans.