Galapagos Audubon's Shearwater Facts

Name: Audubon’s Shearwater
Family: Procellariidae
Scientific name: Puffinus lherminieri
Length: 27 - 33 cm (10.6 - 13 in)
Weight: 170-200 grams
Wingspan: 64 - 74 cm (25 - 29 in)

Category: Sea Birds
Number of Species: 47
Endemic Species: 13

In total, 47 species of sea birds have been recorded in the Galapagos, 19 of which are resident to the Islands. The sea birds therefore account for nearly one third of all the species ever recorded in the islands and about the same proportion of the resident species.

Seabirds can be conveniently divided into 12 groups, as show in the table below. This shows the number of species recorded in each group and summarizes their status. If also shows the number of endemic species and the number of other species which are represented by endemic subspecies. Species are treated as migrants if they occur annually, vagrants being those recorded less frequently.

Category: Seabirds
Endemic subspecies: Audubon's Shearwater; Dark-rumped Petrel

A total of 12 species of shearwaters and petrels have been recorded in Galapagos, but only 2 are residents. Although the species in the family Procellariidae range from the large giant petrels to the diminutive prions (which have both been recorded as vagrants to Galapagos), the species which are recorded regularly can be divided into two groups: shearwaters and petrels. All species in the family are long-winged, have short legs and webbed feet, and raised nostril tubes at the base of the bill. Shearwaters are medium-sized, rather compact seabirds with long, slender bills and straight, stiffly-held wings in flight. Petrels are similar in size and shape to shearwaters but, in comparison, have short, deep bills and in flight tend to hold their wings slightly forward from the shoulder and sharply angled at the wrist or carpal joint. In all species recorded in Galapagos the sexes are alike and immature plumages resemble adult plumage.

Common resident; endemic subspecies subalaris. Population estimated at c. 10,000 pairs in about c. 30 colonies; breeds throughout the year, nesting in crevices or burrows which are visited during the day. It is often seen during a Galapagos cruise.

A small shearwater; the only species breeding in Galapagos. Blackish upper parts and crown, white under parts and throat. Under wings white with dark trailing-edge and wing-rip.

Usually silent at sea, but a loud "kee-kaa-cooo" is given near the breeding colony.

Pelagic. Flight is direct, often just skimming the surface of the sea, with stiff wings and rapid wing beats interspersed with short glides. Often forms large feeding flocks, some times close inshore. Feeds by plunge-diving from or close to the surface.

Audubon’s Shearwater seizing items on the ocean surface in the Galapagos Islands