Wilson's Storm-Petrel
(Oceanites oceanicus)


Picture of bird
© JJ Harrison - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Wilson’s Storm-Petrels breed in the tens of millions on sub-Antarctic islands and the Antarctic continent, and undertake a trans-equatorial migration to overwinter and forage mostly in the mid-latitudes of the North Atlantic and North Indian Oceans. The oceanicus subspecies is generally accepted to be that which winters in Atlantic Canadian waters (Howell 2012). These wide-ranging habits make them a common summer visitor in offshore waters of southern Nova Scotia (see ECCC 2017f), but also a challenge to study in their non-breeding habitat. Consequently, monitoring results are not available to assess population trends in Canada relative to 1970.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Secure2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
CanadaNot yet available

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Seasonal visitor

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaTo be determined

Conservation and management

Most known threats to Wilson’s Storm-Petrels occur on the breeding grounds in the Southern hemisphere, including loss of eggs, chicks, and adults to predatory birds and invasive mammals (Marchant and Higgins 1990). As with other species, the Wilson’s Storm-Petrel is susceptible to attraction and collisions associated with lights and flares used on oil and gas platforms (Ronconi et al. 2015). Other potential at-sea threats include ingestion of plastics, entanglement in fishing gear, and potential competition with fisheries for krill (Moser and Lee 1992, Moore 1992). Environmental pollutants including toxic heavy metals may also pose a threat as they have been shown to affect breeding success in other Storm-Petrel species (Lee et al. 2012, Carravieri et al. 2014).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type