Leach’s Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa   [Vieillot, 1818]

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Order: Procellariiformes Family: Hydrobatidae
Number in Britain: 48 thousand Pairs (Summer)
Conservation Status:
European: 3 Concern, most not in Europe; Localised
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant Breeder, Passage Visitor
Subspecies: leucorhoa recorded in Britain (of 4 subsp. in the world)
Length: 20 cm Wingspan: 46 cm Weight: M/F: 45 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: okeanus + dromos=running and Gr.: leukos + orrhos=rump
World Distribution: BREEDS: is of n Atlantic & n Pacific, RANGES: Atlantic and Pacific oceans
Habitat: Pelagic, breeds in island burrows
Diet: Mainly surface plankton, small fish, feeds from water surface without alighting
TitBit: Like other seabirds storm-petrels are prone to 'wrecks' when strong gales blow many birds inshore - 6,700 casualties recorded following gales in November 1952.  
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: JNCC Seabird Monitoring Programme
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Summer: 48 thousand Pairs in
    First Record: St Kilda, 1818
    Latest Survey: Mitchell, P.I. et al. (2004) Seabird populations of Britain and Ireland Poyser, London
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Localised Breeding Population, Important Breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern: leucorhoa AMBER (European Concern)
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
European Population Size:
    Summer: 120 to 220 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(I), WBD(I), Bern(II)
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack
Summary text from Seabird 2000 (warning: link to large pdf)

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 33 x 24 mm Egg Weight: 10.1 g (of which 6 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 1
Clutch Size: 1 eggs
Incubation: 41- 42 days   by the: Male + Female
Fledging: 63 - 70days as: Altricial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.880       
Juvenile Survival: No data
Age at First Breeding: 5 years Typical Lifespan: 13 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 29 years 11 months 5 days (set in 2002)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: B2
Wing Length Sexually dimorphic (male much larger than female)
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: 160.4 ± 2.6 157 - 164 mm, N =25
Weight Sexually dimorphic (male much larger than female)
Male: Insufficient Data
Female: 48.63 ± 4.68 39.80 - 53.30 g , N =25
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Leach's Storm Petrel
Gaelic: Gobhlan-mara Welsh: Pedryn Gynffon-fforchog
Danish: Stor stormsvale Dutch: Vaal stormvogeltje
Finnish: Myrskykeiju French: Pétrel culblanc
German: Wellenläufer Hungarian: Villás viharfecske
Icelandic: Sjósvala Irish: Guairdeall Gabhlach
Italian: Uccello delle tempeste codaforcuta Norwegian: Stormsvale
Polish: Nawalnik duzy Portuguese: Paínho-de-cauda-forcada
Spanish: Paiño de Leach Swedish: Klykstjärtad stormsvala

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Brooke, M. de L. 2004 Albatrosses and petrels across the world Oxford University Press, Oxford [598.44 BRO]
See Also:
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Wikipedia entry
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BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides