WatchList Species Account for Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma castro)

Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species


Photo: Glen Tepke

Ranging throughout the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Band-rumped Storm-Petrel breeds on remote islands of Japan, on several of the islands in the Hawaiian Archipelago, on the Galapagos, and on small islands off the Atlantic Coast of Portugal, Spain and Africa. It is the rarest of the seabirds in the Hawaiian Islands, though colony locations are by and large still unknown. It is presumed that some breed high on Hawaiian volcanoes, from 7,874 to almost 11,000 feet.

 

One and possibly two colonies exist on Kaua'i, and there is evidence of colonies on the island of Hawai'i and on Maui. One known colony on Kaua'i is on very steep and inaccessible cliffs. The birds can only nest successfully on islands where there are no mammalian predators, or where nesting areas are inaccessible to predators. They are hard to observe, as they return to their burrows to feed their young only after dark.

 

During the nonbreeding season they are found far out at sea where observation is difficult, since these birds do not follow ships and there are several other very similar storm-petrel species. It feeds mostly on fish and squid taken from the ocean surface, but diet samples are few; it is not known if it forages at night as well as during the day. It is recorded as a visitor to the Gulf Stream off the mid-Atlantic Coast of the U.S.

 

Population trends are difficult to estimate, but it is presumed to be much lower than at historic levels, primarily due to predation pressure by introduced mamalian predators. Unless its main breeding islands are protected and predators removed, populations are unlikely to grow and may decline further.