Species Profile

Leach’s Storm-Petrel Atlantic population

Scientific Name: Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Taxonomy Group: Birds
COSEWIC Range: Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Ocean
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2020
COSEWIC Status: Threatened
COSEWIC Status Criteria: Meets criteria for Endangered, A2bce+4bce, but designated Threatened, A2bce+4bce, as the population remains widespread and abundant, and is thus not facing imminent extirpation.
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This small, long-lived pelagic seabird has an extensive global range, nesting on offshore islands in disjunct populations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. The Atlantic population nests in underground burrows at more than 80 colonies in eastern Canada. Birds often fly hundreds of kilometers from colonies to forage on tiny bioluminescent fish. This population overwinters in productive equatorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean, with some birds reaching waters off South Africa and Brazil. Surveys at eight major colonies indicate that the number of individuals has declined by 54% over the past three generations (44 years), and the rate of decline is increasing. Some Québec colonies have been lost in recent years, and expanding Atlantic Puffin colonies are displacing this species from preferred nesting habitat at several large colonies. Low adult survival related to higher predation rates by gulls appears to be a key demographic factor in the observed declines. These declines are expected to continue. Additional threats include changes in the food web of the northwest Atlantic, as well as offshore oil and gas production and attraction to human sources of light which cause collisions and stranding of young birds. Despite declines, the overall population remains large and widespread, with about 5 million mature individuals estimated to breed in Canada.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in November 2020.
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd):

No schedule - No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

4 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Leach’s Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma leucorhoa) Atlantic population in Canada (2021-10-12)

    Leach’s Storm-Petrel is the smallest (~45 g) and the most wide-ranging procellariiform (petrel) species breeding in the Northern Hemisphere. This tube-nosed seabird is characterized by dark blackish-brown plumage, a forked tail, a broad pale diagonal wing-bar, and a distinctive white rump patch. It breeds in large colonies, nesting in underground burrows that it excavates on coastal and offshore islands. Note: This COSEWIC assessment was received by the Minister on October 12, 2021.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Leach’s Storm-Petrel, Atlantic population (2022-01-10)

    This small, long-lived pelagic seabird has an extensive global range, nesting on offshore islands in disjunct populations in the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans. The Atlantic population nests in underground burrows at more than 80 colonies in eastern Canada. Birds often fly hundreds of kilometers from colonies to forage on tiny bioluminescent fish. This population overwinters in productive equatorial waters of the Atlantic Ocean, with some birds reaching waters off South Africa and Brazil. Surveys at eight major colonies indicate that the number of individuals has declined by 54% over the past three generations (44 years), and the rate of decline is increasing. Some Québec colonies have been lost in recent years, and expanding Atlantic Puffin colonies are displacing this species from preferred nesting habitat at several large colonies. Low adult survival related to higher predation rates by gulls appears to be a key demographic factor in the observed declines. These declines are expected to continue. Additional threats include changes in the food web of the northwest Atlantic, as well as offshore oil and gas production and attraction to human sources of light which cause collisions and stranding of young birds. Despite declines, the overall population remains large and widespread, with about 5 million mature individuals estimated to breed in Canada.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2020 to 2021 (2021-10-12)

    Over the past year COSEWIC assessed a total of 66 wildlife species, of which 4 were assigned a status of Not at Risk. Of these 66, COSEWIC re-examined the status of 41 wildlife species; of these, 80% were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 826 wildlife species in various risk categories including 369 Endangered, 196 Threatened, 239 Special Concern, and 22 Extirpated (i.e. no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition, 19 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct, 62 wildlife species have been designated as Data Deficient, and 202 have been assessed as Not at Risk.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2022 (2022-01-10)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 640 wildlife species at risk. Please submit your comments by May 10, 2022, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 10, 2022, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk (SAR) Public Registry website at: The Minister of the Environment's Response to Species at Risk Assessments.
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