Sooty Shearwater

Irish Name: Cánóg dhorcha
Scientific name: Sooty Shearwater
Bird Family: Tubenoses
Conservation status


Passage migrant off all Irish coasts between August and November. Commonest off southern and western coasts, with only a few reported annually in the Irish Sea.


Slightly larger than Manx Shearwater. Seen well, Sooty Shearwater is almost unmistakable, appearing all dark with silvery underwings. The body is a warm-brown colour, with the wings a slightly darker brown. In flight, tends to be much quicker than other seabirds, including the larger Gannet. Only likely to be confused with juvenile Gannet (note white rump) or a dark Arctic Skua. Very rarely, Balearic Shearwaters may be as dark as a Sooty Shearwater, but difference in size should be obvious.


Silent on migration.


Like most Shearwaters, this species feeds mainly on fish and squid caught on the open ocean. May also take offal from fishing vessels.


Sooty Shearwaters breeds (November to February) in large colonies on sub-Antarctic islands. It disperses northwards into the Atlantic following breeding and spends the summer off the eastern American seaboard and Greenland.


On the open ocean off Greenland and eastern North America.

Monitored by


Similar Species

Balearic Shearwater

Irish Name:
Cánóg Bhailéarach
Scientific name:
Puffinus mauretanicus
Bird Family:

Cory's Shearwater

Irish Name:
Cánóg Cory
Scientific name:
Calonectris diomedia
Bird Family:

Manx Shearwater

Irish Name:
Cánóg dhubh
Scientific name:
Puffinus puffinus
Bird Family: