Contents |   Seabirds   |   Colonies   |  Other Sea Life   |   Take a Trip   |   Trip Reports   |   Sources  |    TOP

New England Seabirds

 Wilson's Storm-petrel  Dave Jones


Shearwaters Index

Comments to webmaster



Great Shearwater

Cory's Shearwater

Sooty Shearwater

Manx Shearwater

Audubon's Shearwater

Little Shearwater

Great Shearwater Scott Spangenberg

Great Shearwater photo by Scott Spangenberg. This bird is taking off from the water on a day with little wind forcing it to run on the water. This is also a good photograph of Great Shearwater to notice the black capped appearance and the underwing pattern.

Four Shearwater Day
You can see 4 species of shearwaters on a good trip to Stellwagen Bank: Great, Sooty, Manx, and Corys. If you see Audubon's you can call it a great Shearwater day.  A Little Shearwater on a shelf edge trip makes your day exceptional.

Cory's Shearwater  flying John Slovin

Shearwater Flight
The flight of the shearwaters (and Northern Fulmar ) especially with some decent sized waves is both beautiful and remarkable.

Alternating flapping and gliding on stiff wings, the Shearwater banks over the waves just above the surface. Just when you think the bird will plunge into a wave it rises in a high arch only to glide down into the next trough.

In John Slovin’s photo of the Cory's Shearwater the left wing seems to almost touch the water. Beautiful photo John.  Thanks for sharing.

When taking off from the water, the shearwater faces into the wind and runs on the water. This Sooty Shearwater is taking off with little wind (notice the smooth sea) forcing it to run further.

Even flying in an almost straight line the shearwater alternates flapping with gliding. Watch closely and you may notice a shearwater catch up and pass a boat going 25 knots.

Sotty Shearwater running on water to take off

Size Comparisons

Species                       Body Length cm              Wing Span cm

Great Shearwater          46-53                                     100-111
Cory's Shearwater         46-53                                      110
Sooty Shearwater          40-46                                      94-104
Manx Shearwater           30-38                                     76-89
Audubon's Shearwater    30                                           69
Little Shearwater
Seabirds  |  Shearwaters  Index  |  Great  |  Sooty  |  Cory's  |   Manx   |  Audubon's   |  Little  |    TOP of Page       Comments to webmaster                     

Harrison, Peter (1983) Seabirds an identification guide Houghton Mifflin Company; Boston

Howell, Steve N.G. (2012) Petrels, Albatrosses & Storm-petrels of North America A Photographic Guide Princeton University Press; Princeton

Olney, Derrick and Scofield, Paul (2007) Albatrosses, Petrels & Shearwater of the World Princeton University Press Princeto