Ardenna gravis (O'Reilly, 1818)
Family: Procellariiformes > Procellariidae
This large, dark-capped, white-rumped, shearwater is seen in offshore waters during the summer and early autumn.
Great Shearwaters breed on a handful of islands in the South Atlantic and leave their breeding sites from March or early April, undertaking a huge flight that will see them complete a clockwise loop around the Atlantic, before heading back to their breeding islands.
These birds typically arrive in British and Irish waters during August, as can be seen in the BirdTrack reporting rate graph. Many individuals head to the Bay of Biscay, where large numbers can congregate through to October. These are thought to be non-breeding birds because breeding has already commenced in the South Atlantic colonies by October.
Great Shearwater identification is sometimes difficult.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Great 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.
|UK Birds of Conservation Concern||Green listed|
|IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (global)||Least Concern|
|Schedule 1 license required (to disturb)||No|
|Birds Directive Annex 1||No|
|Listed on the Annexes of||Bern(III)|
Great Shearwaters are recorded mostly from the coastline of southwest England but there are annual records from selected sites along the North Sea coast.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in winter||1|
|% occupied in winter||0.03|
This vagrant is too rarely reported to map distribution change.
Great Shearwater is a scarce passage seabird recorded at selected seawatching locations, mostly from mid June to September.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
Lifecycle and body size information about Great Shearwater, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
|Field Codes||2-letter: GQ | 5-letter code: GRTSH | Euring: 400|
For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name
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