Wedge-tailed Shearwater

Ardenna pacifica




Petrels and Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

White, nest stained.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

48 - 56

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In burrow.

Nest Material:

Lined with plant material.





Wedge-tailed Shearwater: Medium to large shearwater with long wedge-shaped tail that is long and pointed in flight; fans to wedge-shape when banking turns or landing. Have broad-based wings that are usually bowed, more angled and held forward. Legs and feet are pink. Dark Morph has dark brown overall with black-tipped, dark gray bill, darkest on primaries, coverts and uppertail; may show dark M across upperwing. Light morph has gray-brown head and upperparts, underparts are mostly white with brown mottling. Females and Juveniles are similar.

Range and Habitat

Wedge-tailed Shearwater: This species breeds widely on small islands in the tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It occurs as a casual resident in the waters off of central and southern California. This species is pelagic and comes ashore only during its breeding season.

Breeding and Nesting

Wedge-tailed Shearwater Dark Morph: One white egg is laid in a burrow lined with plant material. Incubation ranges from 48 to 56 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Wedge-tailed Shearwater Dark Morph: Their diet includes the larval form of goatfish and fish such as mackerel, scad, and flying squid driven to the surface by schools of predatory fish and tuna. Feeding on the surface is the next-most common feeding technique, usually executed from a sitting position. Air-dipping and air-diving are also used.


Wedge-tailed Shearwater: Silent at sea; on breeding grounds gives a mournful wailing "ka-woooo-er."

Similar Species

Wedge-tailed Shearwater: Short-tailed Shearwater is brown-black overall with short, black bill and gray-black legs and feet.


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

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
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