New England Seabirds

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Sooty Shearwater
Puffinus griseus
Gen Tepke Sooty Shearwater
Photo by Glen Tepke and used with his permission. All photos remain the property of the photographer.

Where To See
April to September on Stellwagen Bank. Usually arrives before Greater Shearwater and leaves a bit earlier. Also south of the Cape and north into Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Prefers colder water. Not seen in the warm eddies south of Cape Cod.

Southern hemisphere off the tip of South America at Staten, Wollaston, and Deceit Island near Cape Horn. Also off Australia and New Zeland. Most disperse in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Ocean.


Sits on the water in flocks. Attracted by chum, but not usually a ship follower. Dives from surface and swims underwater with wings.


Easier to identify on the east coast because you do not need to separate from Short-tailed Shearwaters.

When sitting on the water it is an all dark shearwater. Photo by Scott Spangenberg.

Sooty and Greater Shearwater sitting Emmalee Tarry Slightly smaller than Greater Shearwater on the left, the Sooty shows no white when sitting on the water.
Glen Tepke Sooty Shearwater The underwing shows white wing linings which are variable in size and shape, but usually continuous. Below an underwing shot of another bird showing a different pattern to the wing linings.
Glen Tepke Sooty Shearwater Sooty Shearwater flying underwing by Emmalee Tarry

These two photographs show the variable white wing linings.

The bird to the left  photographed by Glen Tepke shows large white wing lining. Notice the throat area is lighter and this extends to the underbody.

Sooty Shearwater - Tom Young Notice how shearwaters patter on the surface when taking off.. Photo by Tom Young and used with his permission. Photo remains his property.

Greater | Sooty | Cory's | Manx | Audubon's