Yelkouan Shearwater

© N. Bazin
© N. Bazin


This shearwater, also called the Mediterranean shearwater, only exists in the Mediterranean: it is smaller than its cousin, Scopoli’s shearwater, has darker plumage than Cory’s shearwater, a black beak and in flight its wings flap faster but its wingspan is smaller. It spends most of the year out at sea where it feeds on Crustacea and fish that it is able to catch several meters under the water. It only returns to the islands during the breeding season where it lays a single egg in rocky cavities or burrows in the earth mainly found in coastal cliffs. Its wailing cry at dusk would have inspired the songs of mermaids and other legends about sailors lost at sea...

Scientific name

Puffinus yelkouan

Breeding season

February to July

Did you know?

Its feathers, dark on the top and light underneath, allow it to mimic its surroundings perfectly and thereby to go unnoticed when its flying amongst the waves or by its prey when its on the surface of the water.

Conservation stake



  • Predation by introduced mammals (black rat)
  • Disturbance by humans mainly at nigh
  • Accidental capture by fishing boats
  • Changes to its environment

Conservation management initiatives

  • Channelling of visitors
  • Capture and monitoring of introduced mammals (black rat)

How can I help to protect it?

  • I Keep my dog on a leash in the Frioul archipelago
  • I do not take my dog to the Riou archipelago
  • I keep to the marked trails