A small, dark, pelagic bird with rounded wings and a white rump patch. May be confused with the White-Faced Storm-Petrel but has longer wings, browner plumage, and a longer tail with slight forking (not easy to see). Undulating flight with incomplete wingbeats interrupted with short glides on a zigzag trajectory. The Madeiran Storm-Petrel is not easily seen at sea, it does not follow ships and on land it is strictly nocturnal.
Its habitats are small islands, sea rocks and coastal cliffs.
This pelagic bird inhabits the temperate and tropical regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The population of the European Union, breeding on Madeira Islands (Madeira, Desertas and Salvagens), the Azores, Tenerife and the Farilhões off Portugal, amounts to 3700 breeding pairs. Its trends are badly known, but the species is adversely affected by the introduction of rats on its breeding islands and the recent increase in Yellow-legged Gulls (Larus michahelli).
Mostly planktonic crustaceans, small fish and squid; also feeds on some human refuse.
Feeds mainly on wing, by pattering and dipping; also surface-seizes.
Most feeding by day.
The total population is believed to be less than 5,000 breeding pairs. The smaller number and the predation by rats and from Yellow-legged Gull (Larus cachinnans) are the main threats. [conservation status from birdlife.org]
It breeds on all the islands of Madeira archipelago, except for the island of Porto Santo – although it does breed on the sea rocks surrounding that island. Madeira Storm-petrel has two breeding seasons, one in spring and the other in autumn. One egg is laid per sitting and incubation takes between 38 and 42 days. Both parents take turns in sitting on the egg, staying on the nest for periods of 2 to 6 days at a time. The chick remains in the nest for 68/73 days after hatching.
Dispersive. Little known of marine range due to difficulty of separating from other storm-petrels at sea. Apparently highly pelagic and seldom seen inshore near major land masses, but no evidence yet of true migration.
- spanwidth min.: 44 cm
- spanwidth max.: 46 cm
- size min.: 19 cm
- size max.: 21 cm
- incubation min.: 38 days
- incubation max.: 51 days
- fledging min.: 60 days
- fledging max.: 73 days
- broods 1
- eggs min.: 1
- eggs max.: 1
- Conservation Status