Balearic Shearwater - Puffinus mauretanicus

Balearic Shearwater

Scientific name: Puffinus mauretanicus

Did you know: The Balearic shearwater, a unique bird species, was once considered a part of the Manx shearwater family but is now recognized as its own distinct species!

What Do Balearic Shearwaters Look Like? (how to identify them)

Balearic shearwaters are medium-sized seabirds, measuring 34 to 39 cm in length with a wingspan of 78 to 90 cm. 

These birds exhibit a distinctive flying style, gliding over the sea with stiff wings, their wingtips nearly skimming the water surface. 

Their appearance shifts from dark brown to a lighter underside, creating a mesmerising visual effect against the backdrop of the ocean.

Differences Between Male and Female Balearic Shearwaters

Male and female Balearic shearwaters mostly look similar, but males are typically slightly larger. 

Both genders have a similar colour pattern, with dark grey upperparts and a paler underbelly.

What Do Balearic Shearwaters Eat?

Balearic shearwaters primarily feed on fish and molluscs. 

Unlike some seabirds, they do not follow boats for food scraps but hunt independently, often by diving into the sea.

Where Do Balearic Shearwaters Live? (inc. migration info)

These birds are native to the Balearic Islands and are known for their seasonal migration patterns. 

Post-breeding, they venture into the Atlantic, reaching as far north as Great Britain and Ireland. However, they generally return to the Mediterranean for winter, frequenting the same foraging grounds they use during the breeding season.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Balearic Shearwaters)

Balearic shearwaters do not make loud noises at sea but become vocal at colonies where they breed. Their calls, a raucous cackle, are particularly loud and distinctive at night.

Fun Balearic Shearwater Facts (kid friendly)

  • After breeding, they fly thousands of miles from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic and back.
  • These birds can dive more than 35 metres deep to catch their prey.
  • They visit their nests only at night to avoid predators.
  • Their flying style is unique, making them look like flying crosses over the ocean.
  • Despite their fascinating life, they are critically endangered and need our protection.

Facts About The Balearic Shearwater

Diet: Small fish such as anchovies, sprats and sardines and squid.
Bird Family: Petrels and shearwaters
Length: 34-39 cm
Wingspan: 78-90cm
Weight: 472-565g
Scientific Name: Puffinus mauretanicus

The Balearic Shearwater Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • July
  • August
  • September

Balearic Shearwater Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile