Leach's Storm-Petrel

Hydrobates leucorhous




Northern Storm-Petrels (Hydrobatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, nest stained with red-purple markings.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

38 - 46

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In burrow or on rocks.

Nest Material:

Lined with grasses and leaves.





Leach's Storm-Petrel: Medium-sized storm-petrel with dark brown body and white rump; undertail feathers form a contrasting horseshoe, but this conspicuous mark varies. Many birds only show a partial horseshoe or have a completely dark bar that divides it into two lateral patches. Wings are dark with pale gray-brown bar on upperwings; underwings are usually black, sometimes with a contrast between the more brown greater coverts and the more black secondaries. Tail is dark and forked. Bill, legs and feet are black. Sexes and juveniles are similar. The Leach's Storm-Petrel now has two subspecies, the Townsend's Storm-Petrel and Ainley's Storm-Petrel. Split in 2016 by the American Ornithologist Union. Both are outside of north America.

Range and Habitat

Leach's Storm-Petrel: Breeds along sea coasts and offshore islands from Aleutians south down the Pacific coast to Baja California; also in western Pacific and north Atlantic from Labrador south to Maine and Massachusetts. Spends winters mainly in tropical seas. This species is pelagic and only comes ashore to breed.

Breeding and Nesting

Leach's Storm Petrel: These petrels nests in colonies close to the sea in well concealed areas such as rock crevices, shallow burrows or even logs. One dull white egg, occasionally marked with red purple, is laid in a shallow burrow lined with leaves and grass. Incubation ranges from 38 to 46 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Leach's Storm-Petrel: These petrels vary their diet geographically and seasonally, depending on the available prey, which include fish such as cod and rockfish, myctophids, squid, octopus, and crustaceans including euphausiids, decapods, amphipods, isopods, mysids, copepods and jellyfish. They feed by pecking at individual organisms while hovering over the surface and occasionally pattering on it.


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

Similar Species

Leach's Storm-Petrel: Wilson's Storm-Petrel has squared tail, whiter rump, and yellow feet, often protruding beyond tail in flight.

Flight feathers that are attached to the wing in the area similar to the human forearm and between the body and the primaries.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X