Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Sooty Shearwater

The sooty shearwater flies similarly to the great shearwater, and like its name implies, it has dark plumage. In poor light it looks all black, but in good light it is dark chocolate/brown with a silvery strip along the center of the underwing. 

The silvery strip on the underside of the wing is visible. 
We saw just a few in the Bay of Fundy, outside of Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. There were significantly fewer of them than of the great shearwater. I only photographed a few of them. 
Like the great shearwater, they have to run for awhile to get airborne. 

They breed on islands in the Southern Hemisphere near New Zealand, the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego and Phillip Island off Norfolk Island. 
Also like the great shearwater, they feed on fish and squid. They are able to dive up to 223 feet deep for food. 
They are harvested quite extensively for food in New Zealand, about 250,000 per year, where they are known as mutton birds. They are collected from burrows right before they are ready to fledge, then plucked and often preserved in salt.  

1 comment:

  1. They look a lot like seagulls, and it's hard to imagine eating a seagull. Well, for me it is.