Greater Shearwater (Puffinus gravis)

The greater shearwater is a pelagic bird that spends most of its time in the open ocean, far from land, and only comes ashore to breed. It feeds on fish, squid and other aquatic invertebrates, and refuse from fishing ships. Nova Scotia fishermen know these birds as ‘hags’ or ‘haglins’. It has a dark back and white underparts. Its head is dark and it has a white band across its neck.


The greater shearwater is fairly common far offshore in the North Atlantic during the summer, when it wanders north as far as Greenland and Iceland. The entire world population, of about 8 million individuals, breeds in colonies on the Tristan da Cunha Islands and one or two other islands in the South Atlantic.