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Manx Shearwater

The Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), is a medium-sized seabird in the family of seabirds Procellariidae. Despite the scientific name, this species is completely unrelated to the puffins, which are auks, the only resemblance being that they are both burrow-nesting seabirds. The species originated from the Calf of Man, a small island just south of the Isle of Man. Its numbers declined there due to the accidental introduction of rats. It is a North Atlantic breeder with colonies on the islands and coastal cliffs around Great Britain and Ireland. This bird migrates to South America in winter.

This bird is 11.8-15 inches long, with a 30-35 inch wingspan. It has the typically “shearing” flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wing beats, the wingtips almost touching the water. This bird looks like a flying cross, with its wing held at right angles to the body, and it changes from black to white as the black upperparts and white undersides are alternately exposed as it travels low over the sea.

The Manx Shearwater feeds on small fish (particularly herring, sprat and sardines), crustaceans, cephalopods and surface offal. The bird forages individually or in small flocks, and it makes use of feeding marine mammals and schools of predatory fish, which push prey species up to the surface. It does not follow boats. They nest in burrows, laying one white egg which is only visited at night to avoid predation by large gulls. They form life-long monogamous pair-bonds.

Manx Shearwater


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