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Conservation status: Amber

A small shearwater, it has long straight slim wings, and is black above and white below. It flies with a series of rapid stiff-winged flaps followed by long glides on stiff straight wings over the surface of the sea, occasionally banking or 'shearing'. It breeds in colonies in the UK, on offshore islands where it is safe from rats and other ground predators. Birds leave their nest sites in July, to migrate to the coast of South America, where they spend the winter, returning in late February and March.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Puffinus puffinus

Family

Petrels and shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Where to see them

Breeds on a few islands off the west coast of the UK, such as Skomer in Wales and Rum in Scotland. Otherwise can be seen from seawatching points in spring and autumn while on migration. Western coasts might be more productive that eastern coasts.

When to see them

In spring and autumn on migration, or by visiting one of the offshore islands on which it breeds.

What they eat

Fish, especially herrings, sardines and sprats.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-280,000-320,000 pairs--

Distribution

Key

Audio

Grant Sherman, Xeno-canto