Thursday, 16 June 2011

Manx Shearwater (Puffinis puffinus)

Adult Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) at Trevose Head, Cornwall - April 2015
Four Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) at Trevose Head, Cornwall - June 2011

OTHER NAMES: Baakie Craa
Weight: 350-575g
Length: 30-38cm
Wingspan: 76-89cm
UK AMBER LIST / IUCN Red List: Least Concern

Excepting the diurnal and open nesting Fulmar, the Manx shearwater is possibly the easiest of the petrels to see in the UK. This however, does not mean it is specifically easy either - the best way to see any member of the family is to go on a pelagic boat trip early in the morning, where with any luck, you should get close views. Unfortunately for me, my trips to Cornwall have been before the pelagic trips started up for the year making it impossible. However, if you pick the right headland at an appropriate time of the year you may see flocks of these birds distantly out at sea - notice the distinctive wing shape. Manx Shearwaters are nocturnal during the breeding season and nest in burrows on offshore islands. One other interesting fact is that for birds, shearwaters are incredibly long lived for birds - a wild Manx Shearwater in Ireland is believed to be 55 years old!

Related Species:
Order: Procellariiformes

Family: Procellariidae
Genus: Puffinus
Subspecies: none - monotypic. Seven former subspecies are now considered separate species each.

- Sighting Locations -
UNITED KINGDOM - An abundant but very local breeding species on certain islands (280,000-320,000 pairs) and abundant passage migrant
 - Seen most years after 2011 from Trevose Head  in very variable numbers, depending on time of year visited and weather conditions

Further Notes: RSPB, Wikipedia, BirdGuidesBirdForum Opus, Arkive, IUCN Red List

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