Markham's Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma markhami

Fernando Medrano, Jacob Drucker, and Alvaro Jaramillo
Version: 2.0 — Published October 29, 2020


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The species exhibits allochrony, whereby different populations have markedly different breeding phenologies (11). Even within colonies, breeding is not synchronous among pairs. In the colonies of Paracas, Arica, and Salar de Quiña, the territory marking extends between April and August, and egg-laying starts for some pairs in April, but continues for other pairs until August. Given the protracted period of territory marking and egg-laying, the chick-rearing stage occurs between July and January, and the fledglings leave the nest between October and February (11, 14).

On the other hand, in the colonies of Caleta Buena (also known as Pampa Perdiz), Salar Grande, and Salar de Navidad, which are only 140-240 km south of the Arica colony, breeding activity starts with pairs marking their territories between November and January, and egg-laying occurs between November and presumably continues through February. The chick-rearing occurs between January and April, and the fledglings leave the nest between March and June (11, 14).

The reasons behind allochrony between the colonies are not clear, but it could be related to ecological divergence. However, more information is needed to understand if both populations use the same resources and areas.

Nest Site


Colonies are built into crevices and holes in saltpeter deposits, on sloping ground within 25 km of the ocean (3, 13, 11, 14). The colonies can cover areas between 33-6,100 hectares, with average densities that vary between 0.5–248.15 pairs/hectare, and can reach 1,080 meters above sea level (11, 14).


Structure and Composition

Birds lay their egg inside the saltpeter cavities, without any additional material (13, 11). These cavities are formed by salt. In some cases, birds may even breed between the old mummies of failed fledglings.


The entrance has an average diameter of 9.33 cm, with a range of 5.5–18 cm (13).



The mean size of eggs is 32.2 x 24.2 mm (n = 155; 13).


Eggs are white in this species (13).

Clutch Size

Only a single egg is laid (13).


Incubation Period

In Paracas, the incubation averages 47 days (range 37-70 days, n = 28; 13).

Parental Behavior

Both the male and female share incubation duties. In Paracas, incubation shifts lasted three days or less (13). No details on the breeding colonies in Chile.


No information.

Young Birds

No information.

Parental Care

Both parents incubate the egg, and rear the chicks (11).

Cooperative Breeding

This species, as all known storm-petrels, does not breed cooperatively (19).

Recommended Citation

Medrano, F., J. Drucker, and A. Jaramillo (2020). Markham's Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma markhami), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, S. M. Billerman, and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.maspet.02