Adorable tiny petrel makes progress in rehabilitation

Published November 5, 2020 6,300 Views

This absolutely adorable miniature petrel is a Wilson's Storm Petrel that had to be rescued and taken to a marine life rehabilitation center and still hasn't learned how to feed itself under these new circumstances, so the rehabbers have to insert the tiny bits of fish directly into its beak. Needless to say, they are all in love with it, I mean, just look at that face!

Although most people have never seen, or even heard of a Wilson's Storm Petrel, it is one of the most abundant bird species in the world, with a world population estimated to be over 50 million pairs. It is a very difficult bird to see from land, once it is strictly pelagic outside the breeding season, and has remote breeding sites.

The Wilson's Storm Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus) breeds on the Antarctic coastlines and nearby islands during the Southern Summer. It moves into the northern oceans in the Southern Winter. It is a lot more common in the North Atlantic Ocean than in the Pacific.

The Wilson's Storm Petrel belongs to the Oceanitidae family, along with four other genera of Austral Storm Petrels, also known as Southern Storm Petrels, and shares the Oceanites genus with two other species: the Elliot's Storm Petrel (Oceanites gracilis), and the Pincoya Storm Petrel (Oceanites pincoyae). Austral Storm Petrels are the smallest of all seabird species. The Wilson's Storm Petrel reaches a maximum of 18.5 cm (7.3 in) in length.

It flies low over the surface of the sea, like most other small petrels, pattering it as it picks up plankton, but it has a more direct gliding flight than the other species. The wings are often held high to achieve this unique fluttering and hovering flight, and it can soar even in calm weather, by making use of the slight breeze produced by the waves, while using its feet to stabilize itself. It rarely dives to capture prey.

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