WatchList Species Account for Tristram’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma tristrami)

Qualifies for the list as a Red List Species


Photo: USGS/Ian L. Jones
Photo: USGS/Ian L. Jones

Tristram’s Storm-Petrel breeds only in the remote and inaccessible northwestern Hawaiian islands from Nihoa to Midway, and also on small islands off the coast of Japan, nesting on cliffs of volcanic islands and on sandy atolls. Its global population tops 22,000; about 70% of these birds breed within the boundaries of the United States.


This nocturnal species nests in burrows, and feeds on fish and a variety of marine invertebrates, chiefly crustaceans and small cephalopods. More information is needed on its breeding behavior. In the post-breeding season, these birds forage widely across the Pacific between the Hawaiian Archipelago and Japan.


On Midway, populations of Tristram’s Storm-Petrel were decimated by rats, but the species has begun to return to nest now that the rats have been eliminated. Rat predation remains a problem at nesting areas off Japan.


As do many marine bird species, the Tristram’s Storm-Petrel ingests plastic particles, which accumulate in their stomachs and can eventually kill them. Colonies on low-lying islands are also vulnerable to sea level rise.


Future conservation actions for the species should include further rat eradication on Japanese breeding islands and reduction of ocean-borne contaminants such as plastic debris and oil.