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Tropical Shearwater - BirdForum Opus

Puffinus bailloni


27-33 cm, a relatively small shearwater
Upperside black with a brownish cast, underside mostly white. Wings are shorter than some other shearwaters and the tail is long, graduated.

Similar species

The dark color of the upperside reaches further down the sides of head and neck than on Audubon's Shearwater


Breeds in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.


This species was formerly included in Audubon's Shearwater.
Persian Shearwater and Bannerman's Shearwater have been split from this species.
The taxon Mascarene Shearwater (Puffinus atrodorsalis) is now believed to have been a juvenile of the nominate subspecies bailloni.


Four subspecies recognized by Clements[1]:

  • P. b. bailloni breeds on Mascarene Islands, Indian Ocean
  • P. b. dichrous breeds on islands throughout central Pacific (Samoa to Marquesas Islands)
  • P. b. nicolae breeds in the northwestern Indian Ocean (Aldabra to Seychelles and Maldives)
  • P. b. gunax breeds on Breeds Banks Group (Vanuatu)

Gill and Donsker[2] also lists P.b. colstoni (on Aldabra Island), Dickinson[3] lists additionally P.b. polynesiae.


Tropical waters; breeds in rocky crevices and burrows into the ground.



It is a colonial breeder, nesting in small burrows and crevices in rocks.


Fish most important according to available information with squid being second most important.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v 10.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.10.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Dickinson, EC, ed. 2014. The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. 4th ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0956861122
  4. Paper by Austin et al. (2004) describing phylogeny of small shearwaters
  5. Kirwan, G. M., J. del Hoyo, and N. Collar (2020). Tropical Shearwater (Puffinus bailloni), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, B. K. Keeney, P. G. Rodewald, and T. S. Schulenberg, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.troshe5.01

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