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Conservation status: Red

Slightly larger than the closely related Manx shearwater, the Balearic shearwater is brown above and dull below. It flies with rapid, shallow wingbeats on stiffly held wings. It will rest on the water, and also plunge-dive for food. Despite breeding in the Balearic Islands, and the south coast of France, it migrates north towards the Bay of Biscay, which is when some birds make it into British waters.



Latin name

Puffinus mauretanicus


Petrels and shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Where to see them

Mainly off the coast of south England, in particular Cornwall, Devon and Dorset and west Wales, but also into the North Sea, off the east coast.

When to see them

Mainly between July and September.

What they eat

Small fish such as anchovies, sprats and sardines.


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
---Up to 1,200


In Europe
Mediterranean, Bay of Biscay and Atlantic coastal waters.