Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Subantarctic Shearwater (Puffinus elegans)


French: Puffin élégant German: Trauersturmtaucher Spanish: Pardela subantártica
Other common names: Subantarctic Little Shearwater

Puffinus elegans

Giglioli and Salvadori

, 1869,

south Atlantic Ocean, lat. 43° 54’ S, long. 9° 20’ E


Previously included in P. assimilis (see Genus Puffinus). Monotypic.


Subantarctic Southern Ocean, breeding in Tristan da Cunha Group and Gough I (Atlantic) and in Chatham Is and Antipodes Is (Pacific). Birds breeding on St Paul I (S Indian Ocean) possibly of this species#R#R. Unclear if birds present off Chile represent unknown Chilean breeding population#R.

Descriptive notes

25–30 cm; 139–275 g; wingspan 58–67 cm. Small shearwater, rather short-billed, with short broad wings and strongly bicoloured appearance. Compared to P. assimilis,... read more


Probably generally silent at sea. No described differences from P. assimilis.


Like P. assimilis, marine, occurring over warm, tropical and subtropical waters; often... read more

Food and feeding

Poorly known like in P. assimilis, from which there are no known differences.


Poorly known. Mostly during local summer, e.g. returns to colonies in Antipodes, with prolonged egg-laying period between late Aug and... read more


Very poorly known: thought to be partly migratory, with some birds from Antipodes Is moving E to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and locally abundant, but few precise data; comprises at most 10,000 pairs on Gough (2000/01 estimate), perhaps 5000 pairs... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Subantarctic Shearwater (Puffinus elegans). 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 19 October 2018).