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Audubon's Shearwater Puffinus lherminieri


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Audubon's Shearwater
credit: Dominic Sherony/CCSA

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

Description ALL BIRDS (ages are not separable at sea) Have blackish brown upperparts and mostly white underparts except for dark flight feathers and leading margin to wing. Note the dark undertail coverts and longer tail end (cf. Manx Shearwater). Bill is slender and hooked with small tube nostrils.

Dimensions Length: 11-12" (28-30 cm)

Habitat Summer visitor (present mainly Jun-Sep) to Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic, breeding on islands in Caribbean. Favors warm waters for feeding hence range is determined by influence of Gulf Stream and extends further north as summer progresses.

Observation Tips Seldom seen from shore but easy to see on pelagic trips within range.

Range New England, Southeast, Texas, Mid-Atlantic, Florida

Voice Silent at sea but utters weird cackling calls after dark at breeding colonies.

Discussion Fast-flying, narrow-winged shearwater that flashes alternately black and white as it banks and glides, skimming low over water. Sometimes gathers in sizeable groups if feeding is good, and dives after fish. Seldom comes close to land except when nesting, and then only after dark. Sexes are similar.