Leach’s petrel is a small dark seabird with a white rump. In Ireland it is a summer visitor to the north-west coast from April to August and a passage migrant in Autumn.
It breeds on inaccessible islands in the colder northern areas of the Atlantic, nesting in colonies close to the sea in well-concealed areas such as rock crevices, shallow burrows or logs. It lays a single white egg. When breeding, it is nocturnal to avoid attacks by other birds such as gulls.
Outside the breeding season Leach’s petrel says out to sea. In combination with the remote breeding sites this means that it is very difficult to see. It lives for an unusually long time for a small bird, averaging 20 years. They feed on plankton and small fish.
Leach’s petrel is amber-listed in Ireland because more than 90% of Leach’s petrels breed at less than ten sites.
Image (c) by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.