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Bird name:

Manx Shearwater

Puffinus puffinus




Petrels and Shearwaters (Procellariidae)





Euring 5

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Breeding Location:

Islands, grassy, Islands

Breeding Type:


Egg Colour:


Number of Eggs:

1 - 2

Incubation Days:

47 - 55

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Material:

Burrow may be lined with plants and feathers.

Nest Location:

Excavated crevice or burrow.




Manx Shearwater: Seabird about size of Common Tern. Dark, brown-grey upperparts and white underparts. Has grey eye ring and slender, dark grey bill. Dark coloration extends onto side of neck. Underwing white with black trailing edge to wing. Flies with rapid wingbeats followed by gliding. Sexes and ages similar. In rough weather, has swoops up and down without beating its long, pointed wings.

Range and Habitat

Manx Shearwater: Summer breeder at coastlines and offshore islands in the UK and Ireland. Grounds include Western and Northern Isles, coasts of northwest Scotland, Wales, east and west Ireland and the Isle of Man. Visible during the summer and on spring and autumn passage. Winters in coastal South America.

Breeding and Nesting

Manx Shearwater: Nest is an excavated burrow about one metre deep. Only one egg is laid, and only one brood per season. Female incubates first, then parents trade shifts about every six days for 7 to 8 weeks. Both parents feed young for about 6 weeks, but eventually desert them underground.

Foraging and Feeding

Manx Shearwater: Feeds on squid, small crustaceans and little fish like sardines and herrings. They forage alone or in small flocks staying close to large marine mammals such as whales, that will push food to the surface of the water.


Manx Shearwater: On breeding grounds makes raucous, coughing calls, especially when in colonies.

Similar Species

Manx Shearwater: Larger Great Shearwater has a white nape rump bar, and a dark belly patch. Sooty Shearwater is very dark and completely lacks the bright white underparts.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
4 and 6 letter alpha codesX

The four letter common name alpha code is is derived from the first two letters of the common first name and the first two letters of common last name. The six letter species name alpha code is derived from the first three letters of the scientific name (genus) and the first three letters of the scientific name (species). See (1) below for the rules used to create the codes..

Four-letter (for English common names) and six-letter (for scientific names) species alpha codes were developed by Pyle and DeSante (2003, North American Bird-Bander 28:64-79) to reflect A.O.U. taxonomy and nomenclature (A.O.U. 1998) as modified by Supplements 42 (Auk 117:847-858, 2000) and 43 (Auk 119:897-906, 2002). The list has been updated by Pyle and DeSante to reflect changes reported by the A.O.U from 2003 through 2006.


The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) was established in the mid-1990 s as a cooperative project among several federal agencies to improve and expand upon taxonomic data (known as the NODC Taxonomic Code) maintained by the National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

To find the ITIS page for a bird species go to the ITIS web site advanced search and report page at You can enter the TSN or the common name of the bird. It will return the ITIS page for that bird. Another way to obtain the ITIS page is to use the Google search engine. Enter the string ITIS followed by the taxonomic ID, for example "ITIS 178041" will return the page for the Allen's Hummingbird.

Parts of a Standing birdX
Head Feathers and MarkingsX
Parts of a Flying birdX