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.
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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)||Near Threatened|
|Schedule 1 license required (to disturb)||No|
|Birds Directive Annex 1||No|
|Listed on the Annexes of||Bern(III)|
Sooty Shearwaters are regular autumn migrants, recorded from the coast, particularly in southwest England and along the North Sea coast.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in winter||56|
|% occupied in winter||1.9|
This vagrant is too rarely reported to map distribution change.
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+2700%|
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.
|Field Codes||2-letter: OT | 5-letter code: SOOSH | Euring: 430|
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