cm (18-21 inches) head-to-tail length, black-billed, black-capped
shearwater. Underparts mostly white except for undertail coverts and a
distinctive blackish-brown belly smudge. Strong flyer with powerful and
quick wing-beats. Occurrence: Primarily May through early July, but can
occur in other seasons. Most of the birds present during the summer are
young birds as the adults 'winter' farther north. Common, often
abundant, during migration off Bermuda.Uncommon in the Gulf of Mexico,
off the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, and likely to occur sporadically
elsewhere in the West Indies.
Trans-equatorial migrant endemic to the Atlantic Ocean with three
primary breeding populations: Nightingale, Inaccessible, and Gough
Island in the south-central Atlantic. Several million breeding pairs
occupy each of these sites. Every few years, there is a massive die-off
of Greater Shearwaters from the Bahamas to the Virginia Coast. Lee (2007) proposes that the young birds are challenged to cross the doldrums around
the equator if the winds are particularly weak during migration. These
young birds arrive in the Caribbean and Southeastern United States
exhausted and starving, with many dying and washing up on beaches. The
adults migrate prior to the young, generally missing the worst effects
of the doldrums.
Indian Breeding Seabird Atlas by Will
Mackin and David Lee is licensed
under a Creative
Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States
License. Based on
work at www.wicbirds.net.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.wicbirds.net.
Citation: Lee, D. S., W. A. Mackin. 2012. Greater Shearwater. West Indian
Breeding Seabird Atlas
<http://www.wicbirds.net/grsh.html>. Last Updated: _____.
Date accessed: ______.