Hornby's storm petrel

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Hornby's storm petrel
Hornby storm petrel1a.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Hydrobatidae
Genus: Oceanodroma
Species: O. hornbyi
Binomial name
Oceanodroma hornbyi
(Gray, 1854)

The Hornby's storm petrel or ringed storm petrel (Oceanodroma hornbyi) is a seabird that ranges in the Humboldt Current off the coasts of South America. The species is a very distinctive member of the storm petrel family, with a dark cap, white face and underparts, forked tail and a black band across the chest. It is relatively common in the seas off Peru, Chile and Ecuador. The species is named after Admiral Sir Phipps Hornby.


Little is known about the breeding biology of the Hornby's storm petrel. The first colony of this seabird ever found was discovered in April 2017 by Chilean ornithologists from the Red de Observaodres de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC). Breeding burrows of this seabirds were discovered in the Atacama Desert (northern Chile), over 70 km away from the sea, near the city of Diego de Almagro, not the habitat where one would expect to find this seabird. More breeding sites are expected to be found in Chile and Peru: every year fledglings are found stranded on the city streets of Peru, distracted by the city lights.

The birds are thought to breed between March and July, as this is when fledglings are regularly seen at sea around Lima, Peru, and Antofagasta, Chile. There have also been reports of mummified fledglings and adults found in crevices in the Atacama Desert 50 km from the sea, and even reports of one fledgling being seen 150 km from the sea, and one unproven report of a bird flying into a nest in the town of Caraz in Peru, 100 km from the sea. The breed's first documented nest was found by a group of volunteer naturalists in the Atacama Desert in April 2017.[2]

Illustration by Joseph Smit, 1896

Status and conservation[edit]

It is difficult to know how threatened, if at all, the Hornby's storm petrel is. At sea, estimates put the population in the thousands or tens of thousands. Recently a vagrant Hornby's was seen off the coast of California by a team from the NOAA.

At sea, showing the distinctive black band and cap


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Oceanodroma hornbyi". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Gilman, Sarah (July 20, 2018). "The Secret Desert Home of a Tiny, Lonely Seabird". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 20, 2018. 
  • Brooke, M. (2004). Albatrosses and Petrels Across the World: Procellariidae. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK ISBN 0-19-850125-0
  • Birdwatching (Magazine), October 2017, Vol. 31, No. 5, page 8