Adult (light morph). Photo: Forest and KimStarr/Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

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.
Family Shearwaters and Petrels
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.

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Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds

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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.
Audio © Lang Elliott, Bob McGuire, Kevin Colver, Martyn Stewart and others.
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