Balearic Shearwater

Puffinus mauretanicus (PR Lowe, 1921) YQ BALSH 463
Family: Procellariiformes > Procellariidae

This Mediterranean shearwater, dusky-brown in colour, is a summer visitor to our waters when it can be seen from southern coasts.

Breeding around the coasts of the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean, from the start of the year to late spring, these birds then leave the Mediterranean and disperse into the Atlantic to undertake a post-breeding moult – many do this in the Bay of Biscay but some birds move further north.

Individuals head back to their breeding grounds during September. In some years a thousand or more Balearic Shearwaters can be present in our waters, a number that is thought to represent around one-third of the Mediterranean breeding population.

Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Balearic Shearwater

  • Breeding
  • Winter


Balearic Shearwater identification is often difficult.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Balearic Shearwater, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


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Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.


We have no population estimates for this scarce species.


Balearic Shearwaters records have increased in Britain and Ireland, perhaps due to increased sea surface temperatures. They do not breed but are recorded from mid summer into winter, especially along the southwest and south coast of Britain, with scattered records elsewhere.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK



Balearic Shearwater is mostly recorded during autumn seawatching, from July onwards.

Weekly occurence of Balearic Shearwater from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.


Lifecycle and body size information about Balearic Shearwater, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.



For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Welsh: Aderyn Drycin Balearig
Catalan: baldriga balear
Czech: burnák baleárský
Danish: Balearskråpe
Dutch: Vale Pijlstormvogel
Estonian: baleaari tormilind
Finnish: baleaarienliitäjä
French: Puffin des Baléares
German: Balearensturmtaucher
Hungarian: baleári vészmadár
Icelandic: Brúnskorfa
Irish: Cánóg Bhailéarach
Italian: Berta balearica
Latvian: Balearu vetrasputns
Lithuanian: balearine audronaša
Norwegian: Balearlire
Polish: burzyk balearski
Portuguese: fura-bucho
Slovak: víchrovník baleársky
Slovenian: balearski viharnik
Spanish: Pardela balear
Swedish: balearisk lira

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