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Conservation status: Amber

The leach's petrel is a starling-sized seabird. Birds are all black underneath and mostly black above, apart from a white rump. It has a forked tail. The white rump has a black line down it. Breeds on remote offshore islands to the UK and feed out beyond the Continental shelf. It is specially protected by law and it is important that its breeding colonies are protected from introduced predators such as cats and rats. Spends most of its time at sea, only approaching land to breed and then only at night. Most British and Irish birds migrate in the winter to the tropics, although a few remain in the northern Atlantic.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Oceanodroma leucorhoa

Family

Petrels and shearwaters (Hydrobatidae)

Where to see them

The best place to look for one is from seawatching points around the coast in the autumn, particularly during strong winds. Very occasionally, birds turn up on inland waters, but this is usually storm-driven exhausted birds. Breeds on offshore islands in N and W Scotland.

When to see them

Watch for it passing offshore during September and October, when gales blow it close to land.

What they eat

Crustaceans, molluscs and small fish.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-48,047 pairs--

Distribution

Key