Streaked Shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas)

Streaked Shearwater

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Calonectris leucomelas | [authority] Temminck, 1835 | [UK] Streaked Shearwater | [FR] Puffin leucomele | [DE] Weissgesicht-Sturmtaucher | [ES] Pardela Canosa | [NL] Gestreepte Pijlstormvogel


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Calonectris leucomelas PO 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

Large shearwater with scaled, dark gray-brown upperparts, white underparts. White head has variable light to heavy pale brown streaks. Uppertail coverts can be white, forming a pale “horseshoe.” The forehead is white. Bill is pale. Legs and feet are pink. Eats small fish and squid. Flies with loose, angled wings. Light, graceful flapping and gliding.

wingspan min.: 120 cm wingspan max.: 124 cm
size min.: 46 cm size max.: 50 cm
incubation min.: 61 days incubation max.: 67 days
fledging min.: 66 days fledging max.: 80 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Pacific Ocean : West. The Streaked Shearwater can be found in the western Pacific, breeding on the coast and on offshore islands of Japan, and on islands off the coasts of China and Korea. It migrates south during winter, being found off the coasts of Vietnam, New Guinea, the Philippines and Australia


This marine species can be found over both pelagic and inshore waters.


Breeding begins in March in colonies on offshore islands, occupying burrows on forested hills. The feamle lays one egg which is incubated by both parents for about 2 months. The young fledges after about 10 weeks later. The parents form monogamous pairs.

Feeding habits

It feeds mainly on fish and squid which it catches by surface-seizing and shallow plunges. It often associates with other seabirds and will follow fishing boats.

Video Streaked Shearwater


copyright: Josep del Hoyo


This species has a very 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.
Streaked Shearwater status Least Concern


Migrates S towards Australia: many ringing returns from Philippines; large flocks occur off New Guinea; recently found to be regular off N Australia, with some birds moving down W and E coasts to S Australia. Recorded E to California, and W to Sri Lanka and Maldives Is.

Distribution map

Streaked Shearwater distribution range map

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