Bird GuideShearwaters and PetrelsWedge-tailed Shearwater
Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Ardenna pacifica

At a Glance

Widespread in the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, this seabird is a very rare visitor to our west coast. Underparts may be either light or dark; both color forms have reached California. The long, wedge-shaped tail makes this shearwater more graceful and maneuverable than many of its relatives.
Gull-like Birds
Low Concern
Open Ocean

Range & Identification


16" A long-winged, long-tailed shearwater, often flying with slow, lazy wingbeats. Has two color morphs, either all dark or dark with white underparts and wing-linings.
About the size of a Mallard or Herring Gull
Wing Shape
Tail Shape
Pointed, Rounded, Wedge-shaped

Songs and Calls

Generally silent at sea. Courting birds emit a variety of rising and falling moaning and wheezing sounds. The wailing sound made by these birds at their burrows at night inspired the Hawaiian name, ‘Ua‘u kani, which means "moaning petrel." Their call is sometimes likened to a crying child.
Call Pattern
Falling, Rising

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status