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Leach's Storm-Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa


Leach's Storm Petrel
Fieldmarks: A small, mostly black seabird with white feathers above and below the tail forming an incomplete white band. The coverts on the dorsal center of the tail are darker, which causes the band to be interrupted. The tail is forked with a deep v. Wing coverts are tipped in white that fades as the plumage ages. About the size of a large swallow. Feet do not project beyond the tail. Flies with fewer beats than the other 2 likely storm-petrels, Wilson's and Madeiran, and it has a noticeable forward projection of the wing at the wrist (similar to that of an Osprey) and sharply pointed wing-tips. Flight is erratic and bounding compared to other likely storm-petrels.

Occurrence: Fall, Winter, and Spring migrant. Uncommon in the Caribbean region; More frequent in northern and eastern parts of the region. Primary Atlantic wintering grounds are thought to be Brazil and Gulf of Guinea.

Natural History: A common seabird with millions of pairs breeding on islands around the high latitudes of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. This petrel eats small bits of fish oil or macroscopic pelagic animals that it gathers from the surface. Like most tubenoses, it uses its keen sense of smell to locate food. It is attracted to plumes of fish oil above schools of tuna or even fish oils and offal in the wake of fishing or birdwatching vessels.

West Indian Breeding Seabird Atlas by Will Mackin and David Lee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Based on work at www.wicbirds.net. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.wicbirds.net.

Suggested Citation: Lee, D. S., W. A. Mackin. 2011. Leach's Storm-Petrel. West Indian Breeding Seabird Atlas <http://www.wicbirds.net/lesp.html>. Last Updated: _____. Date accessed: ______.

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October 12, 2011
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