Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Tropical Shearwater (Puffinus bailloni)


French: Puffin de Baillon German: Tropensturmtaucher Spanish: Pardela tropical
Other common names: Baillon's Shearwater (bailloni)

[Puffinus] bailloni


, 1857,

“ex Insula Franciae” = Mauritius#R


Previously treated as conspecific with P. lherminieri (see Genus Puffinus). Races nicolae and gunax sometimes included in dichrous. Form described as P. atrodorsalis in 1995 probably based on immature plumage of bailloni#R. Proposed race polynesiae (Tahiti) is probably indistinguishable from dichrous; colstoni (Seychelles) genetically inseparable from nicolae. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. b. nicolae Jouanin, 1971 – tropical Indian Ocean, breeding in Aldabra, Seychelles, Maldives and Chagos Archipelago.
  • P. b. bailloni Bonaparte, 1857 – tropical Indian Ocean, breeding on Europa I and Reunion (Mascarene Is).
  • P. b. dichrous Finsch & Hartlaub, 1867 – tropical Pacific Ocean, breeding from Palau and Marianas E to Gambier Is.
  • P. b. gunax Mathews, 1930 – Seas of SW Pacific, breeding on Vanuatu.
  • Descriptive notes

    27–33 cm; 165–259 g (bailloni), 168–214 g (nicolae); wingspan 64–74 cm. Small, dark-and-white shearwater with comparatively short broad wings and long... read more


    Female calls lower in frequency and harsher than those of males, at least on Reunion. At nest-sites... read more


    Marine; normally in offshore waters, but also pelagic and near land in vicinity of colonies. Breeds... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly fish, squid and crustaceans. Food fed to chicks on Seychelles (nicolae) numerically dominated by fish (97%), the rest squid... read more


    Season and length of cycle variable with locality, generally in summer at higher latitudes (e.g. Reunion, bailloni Jul–Oct), but... read more


    Little known. Adults thought to be largely sedentary, e.g. generally within 80–300 km of breeding... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Widespread and locally abundant, with race dichrous estimated to number 1000–10,000 pairs on Line Is and 10,000–100,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Tropical Shearwater (Puffinus bailloni). 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 9 April 2020).