An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

  1. Photoshop_dave_irving_2019_short-tailed_shearwater_flickr
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  3. Photoshop_dave_irving_2019_short-tailed_shearwater_flickr Dave Irving 2019 Short-tailed Shearwater Flickr
  4. Photoshop_donald_hobern_2010_ardenna_tenuirostris_flickr Donald Hobern 2010 Ardenna tenuirostris Flickr

Short-tailed Shearwater

Ardenna tenuirostris


Dark smoky brown body with a paler coloured throat, slender bill, light brown feet, narrow wings pointed at the tip, brown to grey-brown underwing colouration (some have whitish underwings), short rounded tail, body up to 43cm long, when flying black toes extend just past tail tip (Pizzey & Knight, 2007)


Nest on grass, leaves and in burrows underground. Lays one egg between November and December. Incubation for 52-55 days, chick remains in nest for 94 days. Occur in large flocks. Flocks travel offshore along undulating streams to feed on seas and coastlines in masses of Victoria. Feeding consists of fish and crustaceans (Museums Victoria, 2017;  Pizzey & Knight, 2007).


What to Observe

•Presence (alive or deceased birds)





•Nest building

•Bird on nest

•Bird on egg/s


ClimateWatch Science Advisor

Climate change is expected to significantly impact migratory birds through timing of events like migration or breeding. Responses may include arriving at their breeding grounds earlier or later as global temperatures rise. They may also start appearing in new areas as climatic events alter preferred habitat, natural resources and migration routes.

Help scientists answer the question: "How are our animals, plants and ecosystems responding to climate change?"


When To Look

Migrating between August-November (Pizzey & Knight, 2007). Return to Australia usually in last week in September. 

October to April and early May for breeding. 

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes in the timing of these events so remember to keep a lookout all year!


Where To Look

Within islands, coastlines and offshore undulating streams of South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. More specifically from Recherche Island in WA to Bass Straight to Broughton in New South Wales. (Pizzey & Knight, 2007)

Note: ClimateWatch is looking for any changes outside of their known ranges so remember to keep a lookout beyond these regions too!




Museums Victoria Sciences Staff (2017) Puffinus tenuirostris Short-tailed Shearwater in Museums Victoria Collections

Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight, 2007, Birds of Australia, Page 72-81, HarperCollins Publishers

Natural Resources Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges, Government of South Australia,


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  1. What Else?

    Sooty Shearwater which are wedged tailed and flesh footed. Wedge- tailed Shearwater which has broad wings and a longish wedged shaped tail that is pointed in flight. Sooty Shearwater which has a longer bill of 4 cm. (Pizzey & Knight, 2007)

  1. Did You Know?

    Short-tailed Shearwaters travel 15,000 kilometres to the Northern Pacific Ocean when migrating