Breeding of Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
Swinhoe's storm petrel breeds on islands in the northwest Pacific off China, Japan and Korea. It nests in colonies close to the sea in rock crevices and lays a single white egg. It spends the rest of the year at sea, ranging into the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.
Etymology of Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
The common name of Swinhoe's storm petrel commemorates the British naturalist Robert Swinhoe.
Structure of Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
Swinhoe's storm petrel is a small bird, 18-21 cm in length with a 45-48 cm wingspan, though distinctly larger than the European storm petrel.
Colours of Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
Swinhoe's storm petrel is essentially dark brown in all plumages, and has a fluttering flight, pattering on the water surface as it picks planktonic food items from the ocean surface. Unlike the European storm petrel, it does not follow ships. In structure it most resembles a Leach's storm petrel with its forked tail, longish wings, and flight behaviour, but does not have a white rump and the call differs.
Breeding Seasons of Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
Swinhoe's storm petrel is strictly nocturnal at the breeding sites to avoid predation by gulls and skuas, and will even avoid coming to land on clear moonlit nights. Like most petrels, its walking ability is limited to a short shuffle to the burrow. It is strictly pelagic outside the breeding season, and this, together with its remote breeding sites, makes Swinhoe's petrel a difficult bird to see from land. Only in storms might this species be pushed into headlands, but even then an out of range bird would probably defy definite identification.
Residence of Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
On 8th July 1983, Swinhoe's storm petrel was trapped on the Selvagens, Madeira and was confirmed to be the first record for the Atlantic Ocean. Since then a number of storm petrels exhibiting plumage and structural characteristics have been recorded at sea, principally in the North Atlantic Ocean, while birds were trapped during the summer months in France, England, 1990, Spain, Norway, and again Madeira. Other than the east, North Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea a number of Swinhoe's storm petrel have been identified in the western North Atlantic Ocean.