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Streaked Shearwater

Calonectris leucomelas

Length: 18-20 inches Wingspan: 48 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Pale brown above, white underparts and face, white underwings with dark flight feathers

Streaked Shearwater - Calonectris leucomelasThe Streaked Shearwater is a pelagic species found in eastern Asia southward to Australia.  It breeds on the coastline and nearby offshore islands of southeastern Russia, Japan, Korea, and China.  They are migratory and move southward for the winter, wintering from southeastern Asia (Vietnam, Phillipines, Indonesia) through the Australian region.  They are but rare vagrants to North America, with a handful of sightings off the California and Oregon coasts, as well as Hawaii. Interestingly, in June of 2006, a carcass of a Streak Shearwater was found on the shores of a small reservoir near Medicine Bow, Wyoming.  They are not known to wander inland, with a sighting of a bird at Red Bluff, California, representing the only other inland sighting of the species in North America.

Habitat: Found in both pelagic and inshore waters both during migration and during the summer breeding season.  The greatest breeding concentration are on offshore islands of Japan, with a preference for those with forested slopes. 

Diet: Feeds on fish and small squid

Behavior: Forages by flying over the water's surface and dipping down to grab prey in flight through surface skimming, or by making shallow plunges into the water in search of prey.  Outside of the breeding season, they primarily feed during the day, where they often track schools of tuna and other predators that drive small fish prey near the surface.

Nesting: Streaked Shearwaters are colonial nesters, nesting on offshore islands or sometimes on protected shorelines in eastern Asia. The nest itself is a burrow, often constructed on a forested slope.  A single egg is laid each breeding season, with both parents helping to incubate the egg and raise the young.

Song: Usually silent while in flight, but vocal in and around breeding colonies.

Migration: Migratory, with birds breeding on or near the shorelines of Japan, Russia, China, and Korea, and moving to southeastern Asia and Australia for the winter.

Interactive eBird map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Streaked Shearwater sightings

Similar Species: Most similar to Cory's Shearwater and Pink-footed Shearwater

Conservation Status: The Streaked Shearwater is listed as a "Near Threatened" species by the IUCN.  The primary threats to the species are introduced rats, cats, and other species to their nesting islands, and birds being killed as bycatch from commercial fishing activities.

Further Information: 1) New Zealand Birds Online - Streaked Shearwater

2) WhatBird - Streaked Shearwater

3) Australian Department of the Environment - Streaked Shearwater

Photo Information: Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 2.0 Generic License - Photo by Tony Morris


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Streaked Shearwater - North American Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Streaked Shearwater Photos (coming soon!!)