The Manx Shearwater is a medium sized bird with long straight wings and small hidden legs that allow it to live most of its life in the air. Related to the Wandering Albatross, it is known for its extensive migrations that span thousands of miles.


The bird spends the majority of its time in the air, either migrating or feeding. However, whilst on land, they choose to stay on small islands in areas away from predation by small mammals.


Its feeds exclusively on marine fish that are found swimming in the upper levels of water, specifically; herring, sardine and sprat.

Predators & Threats

Whilst on land, these birds are subject to predation by larger gulls and birds of prey as well as ground predators like rats and hedgehogs.


  • They complete a 10,000km migration from Skomer Island in Wales to South America in as little as fourteen days.
  • Once hatched, the bird is only 70-days-old before it to undergoes its long migration, doing so without any guidance from their parents.


Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Manx Shearwater, Manx PuffinPuffinus puffinus
76-89cm wingspan
50+ years

Best Time to Look

If catching the Manx Shearwater during their migrations, late February and March is when they begin to arrive in the UK. Whereas if you’re wanting to catch them as they leave, early autumn is the best time. However, if you visit their breeding sites they can be seen nesting in between these migrations.

Where to find Manx Shearwater