• Cory's Shearwater 


Scientific name
Calonectris diomedea borealis (Cory, 1881)

Red Data Book Status
Least concern


    • Available tours to watch this bird 

Birding Pelagic Trip | Desertas Island Expedition

  • Identification

A large seabird, with the upperparts of the body grey-brown and the underparts white-brown. The beak is yellow and strongly hooked. Flight is characterized by long gliding above the surface of the ocean with ocasional wingbeats.

  • Voice

The calls is a long wail and similar to ia-gowaa-gowaa-gowaa. (listen to the Cory's Shearwater calls)

  • Ecology

Pelagic seabird that breeds mainly on oceanic islands. Breeding season starts in February and juveniles fledge throughout late October /November. Nests are built in in rock crevices in the vertical cliffs or burrows that may measure up to one meter in length. The diet is mostly based on fish, squid and crustaceans. 

  • Distribution

The species breeds in the Mediterranean but the large colonies are in the eastern Atlantic in the archipelagos of Azores, Canaries and Madeira. In the archipelago of Madeira the birds are present in all islands, but is in Selvagens islands where we can find the biggest colony.


The Selvagem Grande is the island with the highest density of Cory´s in the world with an estimated population of 29.540 breeding couples.


  • Cory's Shearwater Sightings


August 2012, Madeira Island © Birds & Company


May 2012, Madeira Island © René Pop


May 2012, Madeira Island © René Pop


August 2011, Ilhéu de Cima Porto Santo Island © Birds & Company

  • Literature

[1] Equipa Atlas 2008. Atlas das Aves Nidificantes em Portugal (1999-2005). Instituto da Conservação da Natureza e da Biodiversidade, Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves, Parque Natural da Madeira e Secretaria Regional do Ambiente e do Mar. Assírio & Alvim. Lisboa. 

[2] Granadeiro, J.P., Dias, M.P., Rebelo, R., Santos, C.D. and Catry, P. (2006) Numbers and population trends of Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea at Selvagem Grande, Northeast Atlantic. Waterbirds, 29(1): 56-60.

[3] Granadeiro, J.P., Monteiro, L.R. and Furness, R.W. (1998) Diet and feeding ecology of Cory’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea in the Azores, north-east Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 166: 267-276.


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