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Ashy Storm-Petrel

Oceanodroma homochroa

Length: 8 inches Wingspan: 18 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Dark overall, forked tail, paler on upperback.  Difficult to distinguish from other Storm-Petrels noted below.

Ashy Storm-Petrel - Range MapThe Ashy Storm-Petrel is a California specialty, with a very limited breeding range on several island groups off of the coast.  Non-breeding birds only disperse short distances, with most birds still found around the California coast.  Total populations of the Ashy Storm-Petrel are likely no more than 10,000 birds. They are considered an "Endangered" species by the IUCN, and California Fish & Game lists them as a species of "Special Concern".

Habitat: During the breeding season, found on rocky offshore islands with suitable nesting sites.  Non-breeding birds are found just off the continental shelf off of California, over cool ocean currents, or sometimes closer to shore.

Diet: Feeds mostly on small fish and crustaceans, as well as other small ocean creatures.

Behavior: Forages by flying low over the water or hovering, grabbing food items from flight.  They will also sometimes sit on the water's surface and grab food items while swimming.

Nesting: The Ashy Storm-Petrel nests in cavities, but doesn't excavate its own burrow.  They will use a burrow built by another animal, or nest in cavities in rocks or under other protected areas.  The female lays a single egg directly on the ground, and both parents help to incubate it.  Upon hatching, both parents help to feed the nestling.

Interactive eBird Map: Click to access an interactive eBird Map of Ashy Storm Petrel sightings

Song: Usually silent away from the breeding grounds.  On the breeding gourds, they soft rattling call that rises and falls in pitch.

Migration: Breeds on a few islands off of coastal California.  Outside of the breeding season, they may disperse relatively short distances, over much of the California coast down to Baja California.

Similar Species: In range, most similar to the Black Storm-Petrel, Leach's Storm-Petrel.

Conservation Status: Populations of Ashy Storm-Petrels are small and are in decline.  They are only found as breeding birds in a few island groups off the California Coast.  The IUCN lists the Ashy Storm-Petrel as an "Endangered" species.

Further Information: 1) - Ashy Storm-Petrel

2) BirdLife International - Ashy Storm-Petrel

3) Channel Islands National Park - Ashy Storm-Petrel

Photo Information: Photo taken by Don Loarie -  Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Ashy Storm-Petrel - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Ashy Storm-Petrel Photos (coming soon!!)