Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia)


French: Puffin volage German: Flattersturmtaucher Spanish: Pardela gavia

Procellaria gavia

J. R. Forster

, 1844,

Queen Charlotte Sound, New Zealand


Sometimes treated as a race of P. puffinus. Until quite recently was considered to include P. huttoni. Monotypic.


New Zealand waters and Tasman Sea W to S Australia, breeding on islands off NE North I and in Cook Strait (New Zealand).

Descriptive notes

31–37 cm; 225–425 g; wingspan 76 cm. Rather small dark brown and whitish shearwater. Cap to ear-coverts and rest of upperparts fairly uniform dark dull brown,... read more


Only really noisy at colonies, although occasionally vocalizes at sea, giving soft chattering... read more


Marine; more frequent than other shearwaters inshore, frequenting small bays and harbours; only... read more

Food and feeding

Little known; mainly small fish (Engraulis, Sardinops) and crustaceans (Nyctiphanes australis). Prey taken by... read more


Egg-laying early Sept to mid Oct, following main return to colony in Aug, although adults may visit burrows year-round; pre-laying exodus c... read more


Partial migrant. Adults apparently fairly sedentary; immatures move S to South I, New Zealand, or... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population unknown, but may number at least 100,000 individuals (based on estimates in 1980s); poorly known, although breeds on... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia). 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).