Audubons Shearwater (Puffinus lherminieri)

Audubons Shearwater

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Puffinus lherminieri | [authority] Lesson, 1839 | [UK] Audubons Shearwater | [FR] Puffin d’Audubon | [DE] Audubon-Sturmtaucher | [ES] Pardela de Audubon | [NL] Audubons Pijlstormvogel


Monotypic species


Until recently the shearwaters were devided in two genera Calonectris and Puffinus, but based on dna-analysis Penhallurick and Wink (2004) have proposed a splitting of the shearwaters into three genera: Calonectris for the large shearwaters of the Northern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the waters around Japan, Ardenna for a group of large Southern Hemisphere breeders and Puffinus for the smaller shearwaters such as the Manx’ group, Audubon’s and Little Shearwaters. This new taxonomy is now widely accepted, but not by all and is stil subject of discussion.

Physical charateristics

A very small dark-backed shearwater, similar to the Manx but with a more rapid or fluttering wing action. Wings shorter, tail longer. Shows more black under the tail.

Listen to the sound of Audubons Shearwater

[audio: Shearwater.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Robson Silva e Silva

wingspan min.: 69 cm wingspan max.: 70 cm
size min.: 31 cm size max.: 32 cm
incubation min.: 50 days incubation max.: 52 days
fledging min.: 69 days fledging max.: 71 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Atlantic Ocean : North Atlantic and Caribbean. Audubon’s Shearwater ranges across the Indian Ocean as far north as the Arabian Sea, throughout the northeast and central Pacific (including the Galapagos Islands), and in western Atlantic including the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico


Open ocean. Almost exclusively over warm waters; follows warm current of Gulf Stream north. Very seldom comes near land in North America. Nests on islands, both along rocky coastal edges and in wooded areas farther inland.


Breeds in colonies on islands. Active at colonies only at night. Adults may arrive at colony 3 months before time of egg-laying. Members of mated pair spend much time together at nest site, rubbing bills together, often calling loudly.
Nest: Site is in narrow natural crevice in rock, in underground burrow, or on ground under dense vegetation, usually with little or no nest lining added.
Clutch 1 per season. White. Incubation is by both sexes, about 51 days.
Young: Chick is brooded or attended by one parent for several days after hatching. Both parents feed young, visiting at night. Last feeding of young is about 70 days after hatching; 3-
5 days later, young departs from nest. Leaving at night, young climbs to highest point nearby, makes its first flight out to sea.

Feeding habits

Squid, fish. Diet not well known, apparently mostly small squid and fish. Has been reported to eat many sardines at times.
Forages by diving and swimming underwater, rowing with wings; may be quite agile underwater. Also feeds by seizing items at surface. Probably feeds by night as well as by day. Does not ordinarily follow ships as some seabirds do.

Video Audubons Shearwater


copyright: Richard Garrigues


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Audubons Shearwater status Least Concern


Little known. Adults thought to be largely sedentary; immatures probably more dispersive. Vagrant to S Africa, Australia and NE Canada.

Distribution map

Audubons Shearwater distribution range map

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *