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Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus


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Sooty Shearwater
credit: Mike Baird/CCSA

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Family: Procellariidae, Shearwaters and Petrels view all from this family

Description ALL BIRDS (not possible to age birds in the field in our region) Can appear all-dark at a distance, but at close range, and in good light, note sooty brown plumage and silvery white underwing coverts that form a striking bar, palest and broadest toward wingtip. Bill is rather long and more narrow in middle.

Dimensions Length: 16-18" (41-46 cm)

Habitat Breeds in southern hemisphere (during our winter). Undertakes clockwise circum-Atlantic nonbreeding travels and present in North Atlantic May-Aug.

Observation Tips Easy to see on pelagic trips during summer months and very occasionally gathers close to shores in Jul-Aug if feeding is good.

Range Alaska, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Western Canada, California, Southeast, Northwest, Florida, Eastern Canada

Voice Silent at sea.

Discussion Medium-sized shearwater with a slender, hook-tipped bill and tubular nostrils. Relatively long, stiffly held wings allow it to bank and glide effortlessly; particularly impressive in strong winds. Angle and intensity of light affects appearance of plumage colors, particularly on body and underwing. Sexes are similar.