WatchList Species Account for Greater Shearwater
(Puffinus gravis)


Qualifies for the list as a Declining Yellow List Species

 

Greater Shearwater

Photo: © Bill Hubick

The Greater Shearwater is common in colder waters off the Atlantic Coast of North America and also off Western Europe. Foraging in flocks, it often turns up to feed around fishing boats, fighting over scraps and offal. Its normal mode of feeding is to plunge into the water from the air, or to dive from the surface and capture food while swimming underwater, though it also takes items while swimming on the surface.

 

This species breeds colonially in the South Atlantic, mainly on Gough Island and islands of the Tristan da Cunha group. It is active at the nest after dark. Its nest is in a burrow or crevice in the rocks.

 

Total population is estimated at over five million, but may be increasing in numbers and range. Tristan islanders take large numbers of adults and young every year from certain colonies, so the bird may be vulnerable because of its limited breeding range.