Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus (Gmelin, 1789)

Order: Procellariiformes Family: Procellariidae Status: Vagrant to Madeira

Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus

Recommended birdwatching sea trips to watch this seabird

Bird, dolphin & whale watching trip
Zino’s Petrel Pelagic Expedition
Desertas cruise

Sooty Shearwater Field ID Keys

Shape & Size

A relatively large shearwater with narrow pointed wings and bulky cylindrical body.

Colour Pattern

This is a sooty-brown bird with pale panel on underwings coverts


In light wind it has a fast flight with quick wingbeats and short glides while in stronger winds it flies higher with steep wheeling.


Wide ranging transequatorial migrant in Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Sooty shearwater is a pelagic bird but it is often seen from shore.

Distinction from similar species

In Northeast Atlantic might be confused with a dark morph of Balearic shearwater though Sooty has darker underparts while Puffinus mauretanicus has dirty white central part of its underparts.

Puffinus griseus Biometrics

Wingspan: 97 - 106 cm (Howell, 2012)
Total length: 43 - 45.5 cm (Howell, 2012)

Other Bird Facts

Seasonality in Madeira: Observed around Madeira between mid May and end of August
Breeding: Breeds off South America and SE Australia and New Zealand from mid November to late April.


Madeira local status by Romano et al, 2010: Occasional vagrant bird
Conservation status by the IUCN Red List Categories, 2013: Near Threatened ver 3.1

Name of this species in other languages

Portuguese: Pardela preta, Bobo-escuro
German: Dunkler Sturmtaucher
Dutch: Grauwe Pijlstormvogel
Swedish: Grå lira
Danish: Sodfarvet Skråpe
Finish: Nokiliitäjä
Norwegian: Grålire
Spanish: Pardela Sombría
French: Puffin fuligineux
Italian: Berta grigia
Polish: Burzyk szary
Slovak: Víchrovník tmavý
Czech: Buřňák temný

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