Birds – Wilson’s Petrel

A little larger than the Stormy Petrel, and often confused with it under the name of “Mother Carey’s Chicken,” is the Wilson’s Petrel (Oceanites oceanicus), of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, typical of the subfamily Oceanitinae, in which the leg bones are longer than the bones of the wing, the claws are very flat and broad, while the wing has ten, instead of at least thirteen, secondaries, as in the last subfamily. About seven inches in length, Wilson’s Petrel is sooty black above, somewhat lighter below, while the longer upper tail-coverts are white and the wing-coverts grayish, margined with whitish. It breeds on various islands in the South Atlantic in the months of January and February, after which it is widely dispersed, becoming abundant, for example, in August, off the coast of North America from New Jersey to Newfoundland. Its nest is found in chinks and crevices among rocks, and the single egg is usually sprinkled and dotted with pink around one end. A second species known as the Graceful Petrel (O. gracilis) is found off the Pacific coast of South America, from Chile to the Galapagos Islands, and differs in having the tail distinctly forked, the abdomen white, and the webs of the feet dusky instead of yellowish.