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Bird name:

Leach's Petrel

Oceanodroma leucorhoa




Storm-Petrels (Hydrobatidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Islands, grassy, Islands, rocky

Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial

Egg Colour:

Smooth and white with reddish spots on large end.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

41 - 42

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Scrape in ground or crevice in rocks, lined with plant material.

Nest Location:

Underground burrow or natural crevice.




Leach's Petrel: Starling-sized seabird. Sooty-brown with grey highlights on head and wings. Black flight feathers and black, forked tail. Black mark near eye, black legs and feet, and rather short black bill with tube on top. White rump. Flies with bent wings and dabbles feet in water. Sexes and ages similar. Glides and soars after a few flaps of its long, pointed wings.

Range and Habitat

Leach's Petrel: Summer breeder in the UK. Birds come ashore to breed in the Northern and Western Isles. Most likely to be seen from sea watching points, or during autumn months when strong storms blow exhausted birds inland.

Breeding and Nesting

Leach's Petrel: Male uses bill and feet to burrow 1 - 2 metres or further underground or in natural crevices. Both parents incubate a single egg and tend the chick. One brood per season. Egg can survive suspended incubation and chick can survive in torpor if parents are away hunting for food.

Foraging and Feeding

Leach's Petrel: Feeds in flight on plankton and small fish at water's surface. Also eats crustaceans, molluscs. Believed to hunt partially by scent, detecting dimethyl sulphide, a compound emitted by plankton and described as the"smell of the sea".


Leach's Petrel: Gives a variety of sharp tickling notes ending in a slurred trill.

Similar Species

Leach's Petrel: Storm Petrel has a solid white, brighter rump patch, more rounded wingtips, a fanned tail, is smaller, and a white band down the center of the underwing. Black Tern is slightly larger, lacks the white rump, and has a black head in the summer and a white and black head at other times of the year. Sooty Shearwater is much larger, browner in appearance, lacks the white rump patch, and has paler underwings.

Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX