Latin name: Garrodia nereis

Population: The Grey backed Storm petrel has a large global population estimated to be 20,000-100,000 individuals.

Cites classified: Least Concern (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The Grey backed Storm petrel is found in Antarctica, Argentina, Australia, Chile, Falkland Islands, French Southern Territories, New Zealand, Saint Helena, South Africa, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Grey backed Storm petrel’s natural habitat is open seas.

Wingspan: 39 cm

Length: 16-19 cm

Weight: 21-44 g

Mating/Breeding: The Grey backed Storm petrel nests in colonies or alone, usually on or near ground in dense tussac grassland or other vegetation on flat, sloping or occasionally steep ground. The Grey backed Storm petrel breeds between September and December. The Grey backed Storm petrel lays one egg, incubated for about 45 days. The fledging period is unknown.

Eggs: White, spotted at the broad end.

Hunting Habits: The Grey backed Storm petrel takes his food by pattering and aerial-dipping, as well as shallow-plunging.

Feed on: Immature barnacles with some other crustaceans and, occasionally small fish.

Threats: On some islands the introduced cats and rats take a severe toll.

Colour/Looks: The Grey backed Storm petrel has a dark back, a white belly and a grey band on its rump and tail.

Interesting Trivia:

  • The Grey backed Storm petrel was named by William Alexander Forbes in 1881 after Alfred Henry Garrod, while the specific descriptor is an allusion to the Nereids, the sea nymphs of Greek mythology.

More info:

  • Hadoram Shirihai, A complete guide to Antarctic wildlife (2002)
  • David McGonigal & Lynn Woodworth, Antarctica and the Arctic. The complete encyclopedia (2001)