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The Storm Petrel

The Storm PetrelA small, dark seabird with short wings and a straight bill with a hooked tip, the Storm Petrel is a speedy little flyer. Little bigger than a sparrow, they are one of the smallest seabirds on the planet. They are found breeding colonies off the West coast, from Cork to Donegal, but their main colonies are found around the Kerry shores. The largest colony surveyed in the world to date is on Inishtooskert, in the Blaskets, a small-uninhabited island easily visible from the mainland.

Keeping check on these birds can often be difficult though. This is because they return to their nests only in the dark of night. As well as this, their nests are often covered in vegetation making observation all the trickier. The Storm Petrel has an incredible sense of smell and can find items to scavenge from considerable distance away. They eat small fish, plankton, mollusks, crustaceans and also leftovers from trawlers (which they are known to follow for some time).

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If you see a Storm Petrel in your area, Birdwatch Ireland would love to here about it. Please contact 353 (0)1 2819878 or send an email to to report your sighting.