Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)


Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan)


French: Puffin yelkouan German: Mittelmeer-Sturmtaucher Spanish: Pardela mediterránea
Other common names: Levantine Shearwater

Procellaria Yelkouan


, 1827,

the Bosporus, opposite Bujukdere, Turkey


Previously placed in P. puffinus. Often treated as conspecific with P. mauretanicus (which see). Monotypic.


Mediterranean and Black Seas, breeding in S France and E Algeria E to Greece and Bulgaria; breeding suspected in Turkey but still not proven#R. Recently found breeding sympatrically with P. mauretanicus on Menorca (Balearic Is)#R#R.

Descriptive notes

30–40 cm; 349–416 g; wingspan 76–93 cm. Mid-sized to smallish dark grey-brown and whitish shearwater with long and slender bill. Cap to ear-... 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 in Nov–Feb, laying in Mar–Apr, with fledging mainly in mid Jul. Strictly nocturnal at nest-sites.... read more


Migratory. Moves NE into Black Sea, where regularly feeds off Crimea in late summer (although... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Size of Levantine population not well known, but recently uplisted by BirdLife International. In late 1990s numbers estimated as follows (with more recent totals... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan). 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 26 February 2020).