One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small seabird of the open ocean, typically having blackish plumage and a white rump, and formerly believed to be a harbinger of bad weather.
Family Hydrobatidae: several genera and many species, e.g., Hydrobates pelagicus of the northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean
- ‘There are or have been several great blue heron, cormorant, puffin, black guillemot, razorbill, and storm petrel breeding colonies on the islands.’
- ‘However, small passerines carry very small food loads, and storm petrels very large ones.’
- ‘The 120-foot lighthouse, with its 170 worn wooden steps, is a great vantage point for birders who come to see grebes, gannets, skuas and the occasional shearwater or storm petrel on their migratory route through Scandinavia.’
- ‘Some, like the tiny Leach's storm petrel, feed offshore on bioluminescent plankton - so are particularly drawn to light.’
- ‘Don't miss the chubby, colorful puffins of the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve or the seven million storm petrels found on Baccalieu Island.’
storm petrel/ˈstôrm ˌpetrəl/
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