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Bird name:

Balearic Shearwater

Puffinus mauretanicus




Petrels and Shearwaters (Procellariidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:


Breeding Type:

Monogamous, Colonial

Egg Colour:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

50 - 54

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Lined with plant material.

Nest Location:

In a burrow, crevice, under boulders, in caves or directly on bare ground on cliffs.




Balearic Shearwater: Medium-sized seabird with rather pointed wings and slender bill. Adult plumages can vary from being dark brown above with differing amounts of dark brown and white on underparts to being entirely dark brown. White wing linings, a light coloured eye ring, and grey bill are shown in all plumages. Sexes similar. In flight, has heavy looking, "protruding" belly compared to other shearwaters, and has toes that project beyond short tail.

Range and Habitat

Balearic Shearwater: Summer visitor to areas of south England, western Wales, and the east coast from July through September. Migrates to the south of France and Balearic islands for breeding in summer. Can be seen plunge-diving for food or resting on the surface of the water in coastal areas.

Breeding and Nesting

Balearic Shearwater: Birds are philopatric, returning to their birth area to nest. Adults do not breed until 3rd year, and only one egg is laid. Breeding is on cliffs and small islets; nests are in burrows with winding tunnels, visited only at night as a strategy for protection from predators.

Foraging and Feeding

Balearic Shearwater: Feeds on mollusks, squid, and small fish such as anchovies, sprats and sardines. Probably relies more on foraging than on scavenging, but takes opportunistic advantage of fishery discards, especially during breeding season.


Balearic Shearwater: On breeding grounds makes raucous, coughing calls, especially when in colonies.

Similar Species

Balearic Shearwater: The Sooty Shearwater is larger and lacks the whitish center to belly. It is also less brown overall and has longer wings. The Manx Shearwater has strikingly white underparts and underwing.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX