Select map overlays Admin Regions Bird Conservation Regions Blocks Coordinates Ecoprovinces Cities and Roads
Leach's Storm-Petrel, Ron d'Entremont
Photo © Ron d'Entremont

Photo: Ron d'Entremont
Breeding evidence - Leach's Storm-Petrel
Breeding evidence

Click for a larger version or to add map overlays

Leach's Storm-Petrel
Oceanodroma leucorhoa

Click on plot to view table of mean abundance
Elevation range:
0 - 0 m
Conserv. status:
Not at risk
Global importance
of B.C. population:
Number of squares
ConfirmedProbablePossiblePoint counts
3 1 2 2
Long-term BBS trends
RegionYearsTrend (conf. interv.) Reliab.
BBS trends are not available for this species

Mean abundance by region

Bird Conservation Regions [plot]
NW Interior ForestBoreal Taiga PlainsGreat BasinNorthern RockiesN. Pacific Rainforest
Ecoprovinces [plot]
N. Boreal Mountains Taiga Plains Boreal Plains Georgia Depression Sub-Boreal Interior
S. Interior Mountains Central Interior Southern Interior S. Alaska Mountains Coast & Mountains

Mean abundance by habitat [plot]

Boreal Altai Fescue AlpineBoreal White and Black SpruceBunchgrassCoastal Douglas-fir
Coastal Mountain-heather AlpineCoastal Western HemlockEngelmann Spruce -- Subalpine FirInterior Cedar -- Hemlock
Interior Douglas-firInterior Mountain-heather AlpineMontane SpruceMountain Hemlock
Ponderosa PineSpruce -- Willow -- BirchSub-Boreal Pine -- SpruceSub-Boreal Spruce

Characteristics and Range The Leach's Storm-Petrel is the most widely distributed "tube-nosed" seabird in the Northern Hemisphere, with large breeding populations in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans (Huntington et al. 1996). Most disperse far offshore outside the breeding season, mainly to tropical waters. The presence of this small, dark-grey-to-black, burrow-nesting seabird is most often detected by the unmistakable "chatter call" it gives while in flight on its nocturnal visits to the colony.

Distribution, Abundance, and Habitat The Leach's Storm-Petrel is widely distributed in British Columbia, with breeding colonies scattered along the west coast of Vancouver Island, in the Haida Gwaii archipelago, and in Queen Charlotte Sound and Queen Charlotte Strait (Campbell et al. 1990). Highly oceanic, it forages over deep water along and seaward of the continental shelf, feeding on zooplankton and other small marine organisms.

Approximately half a million pairs breed on colonies scattered widely along the British Columbia coast. However, Leach's Storm-Petrel can easily be overlooked on non-targeted surveys because it breeds on remote islands, is active on the colony only at night, and nests in subterranean burrows. Twelve island groups designated as Important Bird Areas support breeding colonies (IBA Canada 2015), but few were visited during the Atlas.

In British Columbia, the Leach's Storm-Petrel nests both in the open and more commonly under forest canopy (Campbell et al. 1990). The species uses a natural cavity for nesting, but more commonly digs a burrow, generally avoiding roots and logs (Vermeer et al. 1988). It ranges widely over the open sea to forage during the breeding season.

Conservation and Recommendations Very little information exists on population size and trends for the Leach's Storm-Petrel in British Columbia The species may be vulnerable to introduced predators, especially rats (Rattus species) and Raccoons (Procyon lotor), which have decimated some British Columbia seabird colonies. Marine contaminants and pollutants including plastic particles, and oiling may also have negative effects.

Mark Hipfner

Recommended citation: Hipfner, M. 2015. Leach's Storm-Petrel in Davidson, P.J.A., R.J. Cannings, A.R. Couturier, D. Lepage, and C.M. Di Corrado (eds.). The Atlas of the Breeding Birds of British Columbia, 2008-2012. Bird Studies Canada. Delta, B.C. [28 May 2024]

Birds Canada Privacy Policy | Accessibility Policy
British Columbia Breeding Bird Atlas, Birds Canada, 5421 Robertson Road Delta, BC V4K 3N2 Canada
Phone: 1-877-592-8527 E-mail:
Banner photo: Glenn Bartley