Large seabird (approx 51 cm or 20 in). Fusiform body and long narrow wings. Upperparts of greyish tones, with a dark cap on the head; the rest of the body is white, like the rump, while the tail is black. In flight, the entire white belly, with a dark border and a brown spot on the lower part of the belly can be seen.
Austral species with breeding colonies in the South Atlantic. Outside the breeding season it is an exclusively pelagic species. It expands across the rest of the Atlantic reaching the Arctic. It does not penetrate the Mediterranean, although it is regular in the Gulf of Cádiz and the Bay of Biscay.
Bird considered a rarity in the province. The Great Shearwater breeds during the spring and austral summer. Colonial. It excavates nests in which it lays one single egg. This species feeds on crustaceans and small cephalopods, which it captures directly from the sea or from the discards of fishing boats. Its presence in the North Atlantic occurs during the spring and summer of our hemisphere (austral winter).
Only one observation of this species is known in the Malaga coast, at the end of the eighties and on the coast of Benalmádena.
Recent DNA studies have proposed that the Sooty and Great shearwaters are different from other species of shearwaters in the northern hemisphere, more similar to shearwaters in the Pacific and Indian oceans. For this reason they have been split off from the Puffinus genus and have been moved into the Ardenna genus.