Leach’s Petrel

Scientific name: Hydrobates leucorhous

Did you know: Leach’s Petrel, a small seabird, has the unique ability to lengthen its telomeres with age, a rare phenomenon in the animal kingdom.

What Do Leach’s Petrels Look Like? (how to identify them)

Leach’s Petrel is a small seabird, similar in size to a starling. Its distinctive features include a mostly black plumage with a notable white rump marked by a black line. The bird has a forked tail and is adept at fluttering flight, often seen skimming the ocean surface.

Differences Between Male And Female Leach’s Petrels

Male and female Leach’s Petrels are remarkably similar in appearance and size, making it challenging to distinguish between them based on sight alone.

What Do Leach’s Petrels Eat?

Leach’s Petrels primarily feed on small marine creatures such as crustaceans, molluscs, and fish. They are adept at skimming the ocean surface to pick up planktonic food items.

Where Do Leach’s Petrels Live? (inc. migration info)

Leach’s Petrels breed on remote islands off the UK, nesting in areas like rock crevices and shallow burrows. They are nocturnal at breeding sites to avoid predators. Post-breeding, these birds migrate to tropical waters, with some remaining in the northern Atlantic.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Leach’s Petrels)

These birds are known for their chattering calls at breeding colonies and purring sounds within their burrows. They emit a harsh shrieking cry when alarmed or threatened.

Fun Leach’s Petrel Facts (kid friendly)

  • Leach’s Petrels can live for over 25 years, quite long for their small size.
  • They lay only one egg per season, which is white with purple spots.
  • These birds are skilled at flying and can even walk on water briefly!
  • Leach’s Petrels spend most of their lives at sea and come to land mostly for breeding.
  • They have a special way of feeding their young with an oily substance from their stomach.
  • These birds can travel up to 1000 km from their breeding colony to find food.
  • They are named after British zoologist William Elford Leach.
  • Leach’s Petrels are known for their ability to withstand strong and stormy weather.
  • These birds are protected by law in several countries, including the UK.
  • Spotting a Leach’s Petrel is a rare and exciting event due to their elusive nature.

Leach’s Petrel Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Leach’s Petrel

Diet: Crustaceans, molluscs and small fish.
Bird Family: Petrels and shearwaters
Length: 19-22cm
Wingspan: 45-48cm
Weight: 40-50g
Scientific Name: Hydrobates leucorhous

The Leach’s Petrel Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • September
  • October