Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Critically Endangered

Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus)


French: Puffin des Baléares German: Balearensturmtaucher Spanish: Pardela balear

Puffinus puffinus mauretanicus


, 1921,



Previously placed in P. puffinus. Often treated as conspecific with P. yelkouan, and genetic work indicates a considerable level of interbreeding#R, but provisional split accepted here on basis of overall larger size (15%) (score 2); feet projecting more beyond tail (a proportional difference irrespective of size, with toes estimated c. 5 mm longer in sample in NHMUK) (1); usually much murkier underwing and underparts (2); blurred vs sharp boundary between dark and pale colours (2). Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

W & C Mediterranean and E Atlantic Ocean#R, breeding in Balearic Is (W Mediterranean).

Descriptive notes

30–40 cm; 490–565 g (male), 472–550 g (female); wingspan 76–93 cm. Present species marginally larger than P. yelkouan, upperparts more grey-toned than jet black,... read more


Generally considered to be similar to that of P. puffinus, a raucous cacophony of cackles... read more


Marine; mostly inshore waters. Breeds mainly on coastal or offshore islets or islands, but on... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly small shoaling fish (Engraulis encrasicholus, Scomber sp., Atherina mochan, Sprattus sprattus... read more


Regularly visits colonies from late Sept (virtually immediately after returning to Mediterranean) until Jan, followed by short pre-laying... read more


P. mauretanicus tends to leave Mediterranean (peak numbers moving through Strait of... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Population usually estimated at 1800–2500 breeding pairs, though counts at sea suggest possibly more numerous, perhaps even 20,000–30,000... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 February 2020).