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two genera of birds of the order Procellariiformes— fork-tailed petrels (Oceanodroma) and storm petrels (Hydro-bates ). They are small birds (the body measures up to 20 cm). The bill is small and hooked downward. The legs are short and tetradactylous; the anterior toes are webbed.
Petrels are birds of the open sea. They feed on small invertebrates, which they catch on the wing from the surface of the water. They nest in burrows along the shores and are active near their nests at night. Fork-tailed petrels (Oceanodrama) are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans; there are 11 species. In the USSR they are found in the Far East from the Komandorskie Islands to Vladivostok; there are three species. The storm petrels (Hydrobates ) constitute a single species. They are found in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. They may occasionally fly to the USSR.