Christmas Shearwater

Puffinus nativitatis




Petrels and Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:


Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:


Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

Under rocky outcropping, or short vegetation.

Nest Material:






Christmas Shearwater: Small to medium sized slender-bodied shearwater with entirely black-brown plumage, sometimes with a gray tone that is slightly more pale on underparts. Underparts of primaries and tail often have a dull, silvery sheen; has pale fringing to some feathers on the back; chin feathers edged with white; wedged-shaped tail; bill is relatively short, narrow, slightly hooked, shiny and black; gray legs and feet. Iris is dark brown. Sexes and juveniles are similar.

Breeding and Nesting

Christmas Shearwater: The breeding season begins around February, when the birds return to nesting colonies and begin courtship and pair formation. The nest is generally a shallow depression in the ground or a simple nest of small twigs and leaves. One white egg is laid in the scrape on the ground underneath rocky outcroppings and short vegetation. Both sexes incubate the egg for 50 days.

Foraging and Feeding

Christmas Shearwater: They are highly pelagic, consuming prey driven to the surface by predatory fish such as skipjack tuna and spinner. They also eat mackerel scad, squirrel-fish and rudder fish. They forage for squid and flying fish by catching them in flight, diving into the water, or picking the prey from the surface. They obtain water from the body fluids of prey and from drinking seawater.


Christmas Shearwater: Nasal moans and groans. Main call consists of an enthusiastic rolling note that is followed by three short notes and ends with a drawn out moan; also emit a variety of quiet, whimpers and chitterings. Males and females are both vocal on breeding grounds.

Similar Species

Christmas Shearwater: Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters are larger, have longer wings, and pale gray on the underwings.


Belly, undertail coverts, chest, flanks, and foreneck.

The area of the face just below the bill.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
The pelagic is a type of bird whose habitat is on the open ocean rather than in a coastal region or on inland bodies of water (lakes, rivers). An example of a pelagic bird is the blacklegged kittiwake.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X