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Birding Málaga


Common name Manx shearwater
Scientific name Puffinus puffinus
Type Seabirds
Status Rarity

Medium-sized seabird (approx 36 cm or 14 in), similar to a small seagull. Dark, almost black, upperparts and completely white underparts. The wings show a dark edge that contrasts with the white of the rest. Small head, long and thin bill, dark coloured. A white spot on the cheeks in the shape of a half moon stands out. In flight, it alternates flappings and soarings and the legs do not protrude from the tail, which ends in an upright manner.


Marine environment

Where it lives

Atlantic species with breeding colonies in the Canary Islands. Pelagic bird that spends most of the year in the open sea, except in the breeding season, when it chooses cliffs with dense vegetation for its nests.

How it lives

Bird considered a rarity in the province. Gregarious during the breeding season. Breeding colonies on steep slopes and cliffs, even inland. Nest excavated or taking advantage of cracks in the shape of a gallery. One laying in March of a single egg. The Manx Shearwater feeds on small fishes, crustaceans and molluscs that it captures by diving. It usually spends the day at sea and returns to the nest at twilight.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

The only known watching record of this species in the province of Malaga refers to an individual observed on the coast of Benalmádena in 1990.

Curious facts

In a large part of its distribution area, the shearwater chicks have traditionally been collected for gastronomic purposes. The common name in Spanish of this shearwater ("pardela pichoneta") refers precisely to the purpose of its chicks ("pichón" is the Spanish for the chick of a dove). Its Latin name "Puffinus" is also related to this, since it derives from the English term "puffin", name with which was also known a gastronomic delight in the eighteenth century, cooked with shearwater chicks preserved in vinegar, salt and herbs.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration