This bird is approximately 33 cm long, with an 85?90 cm wingspan. It has the typically `shearing` flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wingbeats, the wingtips almost touching the water. This bird looks like a flying cross, with its wing held at right angles to the body, and it changes from dark brown to dirty white as the dark upperparts and paler undersides are alternately exposed as it travels low over the sea. Apart from the less contrasted plumage, this species is very similar to the Atlantic Manx shearwater and the yelkouan shearwater found elsewhere in the Mediterranean. It is under severe threat from the development of holiday resorts near its breeding sites, and also from animals such as cats and rats. This is a gregarious species, which can been seen in large numbers from boats or headlands, especially on in autumn. It does not follow boats.

Habitat and Distribution

This species breeds on islands and coastal cliffs in the Balearic islands. Most winter in that sea, but some enter the Atlantic in late summer, reaching north to Great Britain and Ireland.


The Balearic shearwater feeds on fish and molluscs.


This species nests in burrows which are visited only at night to avoid predation by large gulls.

Calls and Songs

It is silent at sea, but at night the breeding colonies are alive with raucous cackling calls, higher pitched than the Manx shearwater's.