Birds of North Carolina:
their Distribution and Abundance
Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel - Hydrobates monorhis
Search Common:                 Search Scientific:
General Comments The date 8 Aug 1998 was a red-letter one in North Carolina pelagic bird history. The second ever record of Bulwer's Petrel in North Carolina waters (and the first documented record in United States waters) was made on a pelagic trip off Oregon Inlet. Yet, off Hatteras Inlet, another group of birders saw and photographed the first record of Swinhoe's Storm-Petrel in North American waters! Though this is essentially an Indian Ocean and west Pacific Ocean species, very small numbers have been found recently at islands in the eastern Atlantic. This first record was not accepted by either the American Ornithologists' Union or American Birding Association checklist committees, presumably because some races (in the Pacific) of the very similar Leach's Storm-Petrel have dark rumps and can look very similar to a Swinhoe's, which always has a dark rump. Thankfully, the second record, on 2 Jun 2008, was much better photographed and was accepted by these committees. And, a third record was documented a year later, as was a fourth in 2017. The Atlantic race of Leach's is white-rumped, and apparently there are no known records of dark-rumped individuals. Swinhoe's has a somewhat stronger flight and is a slightly stockier bird (with a shorter tail) than is Leach's, and looks more like a Band-rumped Storm-Petrel (which always has a white rump) than it does a Leach's.

The species was moved to a different genus by the AOS in June 2019; it formerly was in the genus Oceanodroma.

Breeding Status Nonbreeder
NC BRC List Definitive
State Status
U.S. Status
State Rank SA
Global Rank GNR
Coastal Plain Casual offshore visitor to the Gulf Stream; the only records for the United States or Canada are of singles off Hatteras Inlet: 8 Aug 1998* (N. Am. Birds 53:6-10); 2 Jun 2008* (N. Am. Birds 62:518-520), [Chat 72:139 link]; 6 Jun 2009* [Chat 73:156 link]; and 9 Jun 2017* [Chat 81:90 link]. There are no inland records. Photographs of the 2008 and 2017 birds are on the Carolina Bird Club Photo Gallery.
Piedmont No records.
Mountains No records.
Finding Tips As with many other rare pelagic species, you need to take a lot of trips out of Hatteras Inlet.
Attribution LeGrand[2023-03-14], LeGrand[2019-06-26], LeGrand[2018-06-09]
NC Map
Map depicts all counties with a report (transient or resident) for the species.
Click on county for list of all known species.