Friday, April 4, 2014

Wilson's Storm Petrel

Oceanites oceanicus
We finally arrive at our last animal of this Antarctic theme-- a bird that is not confined just to the southernmost continent. Wilson's Storm Petrel is a common bird that is one of the most abundant species in the entire world with a population of over 100 million!

These particular birds breed on Antarctica's coasts during the summertime, and during the rest of the year they travel the seas of the Southern Hemisphere. They can fly thousands of miles in a single year, but they are often difficult to spot because they spend nearly all of that time over open ocean.

Wilson's Storm Petrels are small birds. They only measure about 6-7in in length. In fact, they are the smallest warm-blooded creatures to nest in Antarctica! They are so small that they live a mostly nocturnal lifestyle while nesting. This strategy keeps them safe from the larger birds that will either feed on them or try and steal the food that they capture. Krill, small fish, and various aquatic invertebrates make up the Petrels' diet.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Southern Hemisphere
Size : Length up to 7in (18cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Procellariiformes
Family : Hydrobatidae -- Genus : Oceanites -- Species : O. oceanicus
Image :  Patrick Coin

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