Leach’s Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa)


Petrels are part of the tubenose family of seabirds, which also include the fulmars, albatrosses and shearwaters. These are very small birds that you usually see flying fast by very close to the water's surface where the air currents are strongest. We mostly see them when departing from hafnarfjörður, Keflavík or Grindavík harbours. We don’t see them often because they’re mainly nocturnal. In very strong winds they get blown inshore and in the UK after the gales in November 1952 about 6,700 birds were found injured.

Average Length: 20 cm
Average Weight: 45 g
Wingspan: 46 cm
Diet: Surface plankton, small fish
Est. population around Iceland: ~ 25,000 – 30,000 pairs
Residence Period: Late March to Late October
Nesting habitat: Dirt burrows on islands
Nesting Period: Late May to Late August
Clutch size (No eggs): 1
Incubation time (days): 41-42
Fledging time: 63-70
Typical life span (years): 13
Age at first breeding (years): 5
IUCN world Status: Least concern
Major Threats: Predation, food contamination from pollution
Other Names: Sjósvala, Stor stormsvale, Myrskykeiju, Wellenläufer, Uccello delle tempeste codaforcuta, Nawalnik duzy, Paiño de Leach, Vaal stormvogeltje, Pétrel culblanc, Stormsvale, Paínho-de-cauda-forcada, Klykstjärtad stormsvala