• Manx Shearwater 


Scientific name
Piffinus puffinus puffinus (Brünnich, 1764)

Red Data Book Status


  • Identification

A medium shearwater with brown-black upperparts, white underparts, underwings and undertail coverts. The head is dark that descends until the eye. The wings are slim and long and the tail is short and pointed. Flight is characterized by long glides punctuated by a series of rapid wingbeats.

  • Voice

The call is a high pitched sound similar to ‘sgack – cack – chich’.  

  • Ecology

The breeding season is between January and early July and nests colonially. In the Archipelago of Canaries and Madeira the birds breeds in the deep valleys covered with native forest where excavates a burrow usually under the trunk of the trees.
The diet is composed by small fish, small crustaceans, squids, molluscs, cephalopods, plankton and floating.

  • Distribution

Breeds in the north Atlantic region, with largest population concentrated in the British colonies. In the Macaronesia region the birds breed in the archipelagos of Azores, Canaries and Madeira. In this last the bird only occurs in Madeira Island, with colonies mainly in the north side of the island. However is in the south side along Santa Luzia Valey that is the best know colony at the island. During the migration the species migrate more than 10000 km to the coastal regions of South America. 


On Copeland Island in Northern Ireland was recorded a bird with approximately 50 years.


  • Manx Sherawater Sightings


May 2012, Madeira Island © René Pop


May 2012, Madeira Island © Birds & Company

  • Literature

[1] Bannerman, D.A & W.M. Bannerman. 1965. Birds of the Atlantic Islands. Vol 2. Oliver & Boyd. Edinburgh. 

[2] 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. 

[3] Fagundes, A.I., J. Nunes & J. Ferreira. 2008. Atlas das Aves Nidificantes do Parque Ecológico do Funchal. Município do Funchal. 115 pp.

[4] Nunes, J., Nunes, M., Fagundes, A. I.,  Valkenburg, T. 2010. Contributo para a conservação do Fura-bucho-do-atlântico Puffinus puffinus, uma espécie ameaçada na ilha da Madeira. Airo 20: (12-21).

[5] Trujillo, D. 2008. Seguimiento de una especie amenazada de ave de Canarias, pardela pichoneta (Puffinus puffinus), integrada en el proyecto INTERREG III B Azores-Madeira-Canarias (Bionatura). GesPlan S.A. Informe inédito.

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