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30-38 cm, wingspan 76-89 cm. Blackish or dark brown upper parts, white below, white wing linings, white crescent behind eye, short tail.
 Similar Species
Yelkouan Shearwater, formerly considered a subspecies of Manx, is very similar, differing most obviously in its dark (not white) under-tail coverts, and longer legs which often project beyong the slightly shorter tail tip in flight; also usually marginally paler brown above.
Manx Shearwater nests primarily in the eastern North Atlantic, most importantly on islands off the coasts of Britain (94% of the world population), with particularly important colonies on Rhum in western Scotland (approx 140,000 pairs), and Skokholm and Skomer in southwest Wales (about 150,000 pairs between the two islands). Smaller colonies also occur in Ireland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, off Brittany in France, and on the Azores and Madeira. A recent colonist in the New World, with a small colony found off Newfoundland in Canada, and in 2009, the first confirmed young fledged within the USA, in Maine.
Outside breeding season, it migrates to southern Atlantic, south to at least 55Â°S off the coast of Argentina. Since the 1970s have been seen as a rare but increasingly regular vagrant in eastern north Pacific, and recorded as a vagrant in Australia and New Zealand.
Up to seven other species has in the past been treated as subspecies of Manx Shearwater.
Strictly pelagic when not breeding, and very mobile, with e.g. birds from Skokholm making 1,500 km round trips to the Bay of Biscay to get food for their chicks.
Glides and banks low over the water on stiff straight wings, with bursts of wingbeats followed by long glides; in stronger winds, often arcs high over waves to increase flying efficiency by picking up gusts deflected by the waves. One of the longest-lived birds in the world, with individuals over 50 years old known, and calculated to have flown eight million km in their lifetimes2.
Nests colonially in burrows on grassy slopes of islands, often at some distance from the sea. Visits burrows after dark.
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