Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus)

The sooty shearwater spends most of its time far offshore in the open ocean, only coming ashore to breed. It nests in huge colonies in burrows on oceanic islands, and the world population is estimated at over a billion birds! Sooty shearwaters feed on fish, squid and other invertebrates, as well as refuse from fishing boats. It is a brown, gull-like bird, often seen flying with stiff wings just above the waves. Distribution The sooty shearwater is a regular summer visitor to the North Atlantic, including the Maritime coast, and the North Pacific, but breeds in New Zealand and southern South America.

"The Sooty Shearwater generally frequents the inland sounds [of southern Chile] in very large flocks: I do not think I ever saw so many birds of any other sort together, as I once saw of these behind the island of Chiloe. Hundreds of thousands flew in an irregular line for several hours in one direction. When part of the flock settled on the water the surface was blackened, and a noise proceeded from them as of human beings talking in the distance." Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle.