Is this a Wedge-tailed Shearwater? (1 Viewer)


Opus Editor and Expat from Cumbria
Opus Editor
My husband managed to get some great shots of this shearwater while our ship was sailing up the Pacific coast between Costa Rica and southern Mexico. There were quite a few that would come close into the ship to catch the flying fish that were flying off along the ship's bow wave.

Anyway, we think it's a Wedge-tailed, perhaps a juvenile and would really appreciate a confirmation from someone with experience of pelagics. Thanks. I've included a shot to show that it was white below.


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not seen many (only a few in Indonesia) but it does look like a pale morph. I never found the pale underwing that easy to see in the field
good rec. for S. Mexico though?


Opus Editor and Expat from Cumbria
Opus Editor
Thought I'd just post another pic of this shearwater. It may help with the ID. I did a search on Google advanced for photos of Wedge-taileds and couldn't find anything to really help. There were a couple of the birds in their nest burrows, but you couldn't see the tails!


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Andrew Whitehouse

Professor of Listening
Staff member
Hi Helen,

I saw quite a lot of Wedge-tailed Shearwaters that looked like this in Mauritius last year. They threw me a bit at first, particularly as the pale phase isn't illustrated in the field guide for the area (it is in Harrison's "Seabirds" though). So I reckon that's what you have here, as I can't think of any other large shearwaters that could show similar features.
HelenB said:
There were a couple of the birds in their nest burrows,
If they were at their nests, they have to be Wedge-tailed, no other large shearwater nests even remotely near the area. But even this may be a new colony - HBW lists the only East Pacific colony as the Revillagigedo Is. (19°N 111°W), well to the northwest of your route.

Well worth reporting any nesting behaviour.



Opus Editor and Expat from Cumbria
Opus Editor
We only saw the birds out at sea. The nesting birds I referred to were in the photos I found online! Sorry I didn't make that clear.

Charles - thanks for the confirmation.

Andrew - last night I actually found some illustrations of both phases in my Robertson & Heather "Birds of NZ". Although even that book shows them as being a much greyer brown than the ones we saw.

Thanks also to Jane and Tim for your replies.

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