Short-tailed Shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris)

Short-tailed Shearwater

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Puffinus tenuirostris | [authority] Temminck, 1835 | [UK] Short-tailed Shearwater | [FR] Puffin a bec grele | [DE] Kurzschwanz-Sturmtaucher | [ES] Pardela de Tasmania | [NL] Dunbekpijlstormvogel


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Puffinus tenuirostris PO n, w


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

Distinguished from Sooty by smaller size, more rapid wingbeat, shorter bill andtail, and smoky gray wing linings. May have a whitish throat. Sooty has whiter wing linings.

Listen to the sound of Short-tailed Shearwater

[audio: Shearwater.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 95 cm wingspan max.: 100 cm
size min.: 40 cm size max.: 45 cm
incubation min.: 52 days incubation max.: 55 days
fledging min.: 84 days fledging max.: 104 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Pacific Ocean : North, West. This species breeds on Tasmania and off the coast of south Australia, with the bulk of the population in the south-east


Open ocean. Concentrations at sea are over continental shelf and around upwellings in cool waters. Breeds on islands close to s
hore and locally on Australian mainland, where grass and shrubs cover soil soft enough for excavating nesting burrows.


Breeds only around southern and eastern Australia. Nesting season extends from September to April. First breeds at age of 5-8 years. Nests in colonies on islands and locally on mainland, with most activity in colony at night.
Nest: Sites are in burrows dug in soil under grass or scrub; both sexes help to excavate burrow, and same site may be used for several years. Nest chamber at end of burrow may be bare or lined with grasses.
Clutch 1 per season. White. Incubation is by both sexes, 52-55 days.
Young: Both parents feed young, visiting at night, feeding by regurgitation. Feeding visits become less frequent as chick matures. Adults then abandon young, and it goes to sea 82-108 days after hatching.

Feeding habits

Mostly fish, crustaceans, squid.
Diet varies with region, but may include many small fish; crustaceans, including amphipods and euphausiid shrimp; small octopus and squid. Also some marine worms, jellyfish, insects, other items.
Behavior: Forages mostly by diving from surface of water or by plunging from a few feet above surface, swimming underwater by rowing with wings; ma
y dive as deep as 60′ below surface. Sometimes forages in association with whales or dolphins.

Video Short-tailed Shearwater


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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.
Short-tailed Shearwater status Least Concern


Breeds on islands off southern Australia. Ranges north to Aleutians and Bering Sea, thence south off coast to Baja California. Best looked for in late fall or early winter. Migration: Moves north through
western Pacific in April and May, concentrating off southern Alaska in summer. Breeders move south again in August and September. Non-breeders may remain off our Pacific Coast all year; occurs off California mainly in pacific winter months.

Distribution map

Short-tailed Shearwater distribution range map

Leave a Reply

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