Ardenna grisea (JF Gmelin, 1789)
Family: Procellariiformes > Procellariidae
Although an abundant bird globally, seeing Sooty Shearwaters in Britain and Ireland is a specialist pursuit requiring patient sea-watching in autumn.
Travelling from their breeding grounds in the southern hemisphere, Sooty Shearwaters circumnavigate the Atlantic Ocean flying north along the eastern seaboard of the USA, and returning south past Britain & Ireland, only coming close to shore in autumnal westerly gales.
Individuals can be seen in small numbers anywhere around our coast but the south-western approaches, western Ireland and the Northern Isles are the most likely spots. Stiff, slender wings with silvery undersides and a brown cigar-shaped body distinguish this master of the air and the waves.
Sooty Shearwater identification is sometimes difficult.
Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses
Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.Browse training courses
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
|IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (global)
|Schedule 1 license required (to disturb)
|Birds Directive Annex 1
|Listed on the Annexes of
Sooty Shearwaters are regular autumn migrants, recorded from the coast, particularly in southwest England and along the North Sea coast.
This vagrant is too rarely reported to map distribution change.
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)
Sooty Shearwater is a regular passage seabird recorded at coastal locations, usually from late summer to late autumn with most passage in August and 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 Sooty Shearwater, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
|2-letter: OT | 5-letter code: SOOSH | Euring: 430
For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name
Links to more information from ConservationEvidence.com
Would you like to search for another species?