Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)

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The yelkouan shearwater, Levantine shearwater or Mediterranean shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) is a medium-sized shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae.

Yelkouan shearwaters are 30–38 cm long, with a 76–89 cm wingspan. It has the typically “shearing” flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wingbeats, the wingtips almost touching the water. This bird looks like a flying cross, with its wing held at right angles to the body, and it changes from very dark brown to white as the dark upperparts and paler undersides are alternately exposed as it travels low over the sea.

It is silent at sea, but at night the breeding colonies are alive with raucous cackling calls, higher pitched and more drawn out than the Manx shearwater’s.

In large groups in migration spring autumn.

photo: Mihai BACIU


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