Leach's Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa)

More shy than the forked-tailed storm-petrel, this little bird does not follow ships and is difficult to spot as it only comes to shore at night.


Like the forked-tailed storm-petrel, Leach's storm-petrel also has a forked tail but it has a darker, sooty black plumage and a bold white patch on its rump.


The breeding range of Leach's storm-petrel extends from southern California north to the Alaskan Aleutian Islands, and all the way to Japan! During the nesting season, it travels further than any other species in search of food, spending up to three days at sea before returning to the nest.


Leach's storm-petrel nests in huge colonies in wooded, grassy, or treeless areas on coastal islands. Each male digs a shallow burrow and its mate lays a single egg in a chamber at the end. This egg, which has a distinctive ring of lilac dots surrounding its larger end, is incubated by both parents for 41-50 days. Young remain in the nest for up to 70 days before heading out to sea alone.

The diet of these great flyers is more specific than other marine birds, focusing on the sea strider, a small marine insect that is found throughout the Pacific Ocean. However, they will also feed on small, oily fish such as capelin, as well as shrimp-like invertebrates.