Balearic Shearwater

Balearic Shearwater

Balearic Shearwater

Taxonomic name: Puffinus mauretanicus.

This is a pelagic bird which lives at sea most of the year coming to land for breeding in the Balearic islands in the Mediterranean.

It is bigger than the Manx shearwater with which it can be easily confused, but it looks bulkier especially around the neck area; it has an approximate wingspan of 85–90cm and about 33cm length. If seen clearly it also trails its legs, something a Manx shearwater does not do.

It has brown and black colouration on top and a dirty white below. The colouring can get quite patchy and rough as the year progresses unlike some of the other shearwaters.

It is critically endangered, in large part because of the infestation of feral cats, pine martens and genets which all predate the adult shearwaters. With black rats preying on chicks and eggs affecting future generations, on its home islands. There is an action plan in place to help its survival, which was commissioned by the EU; and set up with Birdlife International as the sub-contractor.

It breeds on the Balearic islands and France, but then flies around the coasts of Europe and Britain. It is seen regularly travelling around Cornwall often fishing by catching small pelagic fish moving from the Atlantic into the Mediterranean sea’s.

References:Arcos. J. M. Compiler (2011) International Species Action Plan for the Balearic Shearwater, Puffinus mauretanicus, Birdlife International and SEO/Birdlife for the European Commission.

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Kevin ONeill

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