Structure of a tip leakage flow field in an axial compressor rotor has been investigated by detailed numerical simulations and appropriate post-processing. Physical explanations of the structure are made in terms of vortex-core identification, normalized helicity, vortex-lines, limiting streamlines, etc. The onset of the discrete tip leakage vortex is located on the suction surface at some distance from the leading edge. The vortex core with high vorticity is generated from a shear layer between the leakage jet flow and the main flow. The streamlines in the leakage flow are coiling around the vortex core. All the vortex-lines in the tip leakage vortex core link to ones in the suction surface boundary layer. The other vortex-lines in the suction surface boundary layer link to the vortex-lines in the pressure surface boundary layer and in the casing wall boundary layer. There are two mechanisms to reduce intensity of the tip leakage vortex: one is reduction of discharged vorticity caused by the linkage of vortex-lines between the suction surface and casing wall boundary layers, and another is diffusion of vorticity from the tip leakage vortex. Relative motion of the endwall has a substantial influence on the structure of the leakage flow field. In the case of a compressor rotor, it intensifies streamwise vorticity of the leakage vortex but reduces leakage flow loss.