Scientific Name: Puffinus griseus
Who are Sooty Shearwaters and What do They Look Like?
Sooty shearwaters are animals that are famous for traveling in groups of thousands. They fly in tight, long lines. As they fly across the open ocean they skim the surface of the water. Such behavior earned them the name "shearwater." Sooty Shearwaters have dark brown (soot-colored) bodies with silvery areas under their wings. They are large birds, growing 16-20 inches in length with a wingspan of 10-13 inches.
Sooty Shearwaters live throughout the open waters of the Northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. They will sometimes dive for their food, but often collect their meals at the surface, while flying. Shearwaters eat small fish, crustaceans, plankton, jellyfish, and squid. Like many other marine species, they tend to congregate around upwellings where there is available food.
Where do Sooty Shearwaters Live and Breed?
Sooty Shearwaters live throughout the open waters of the Northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Sooty Shearwaters fly great distances between their breeding grounds, on islands off southern South America and New Zealand, and their feeding territories throughout the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They are known to fly up to 800 kilometers each day. Shearwaters only come to land to breed, nesting in the crevices between rocks. They lay one egg and both parents care for their young. Sooty Shearwaters will sometimes dive for their food, but often collect their meals at the surface, while flying.
What are Threats to the Sooty Shearwater?
The Sooty Shearwater population is estimated in the tens of millions. Recent studies have indicated that some populations are declining, possibly due to a rise in sea surface temperature, which may affect their food supply. These birds can also become bycatch as a result of longline fishing.
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