Short-tailed Shearwater: Medium shearwater with dark brown body and occasional traces of white in the center of upperwings. Bill is short and dark. Feet are dark gray and trail slightly behind tail in flight. Tail is rounded. Alternates strong flaps with long glides, often soars for long periods.
Range and Habitat
Short-tailed Shearwater: Breeds on coasts and islands of southeastern Australia. Summer visitor to Pacific Coast of North America, from Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands south to California; rare south of British Columbia. Pelagic, comes ashore only to breed.
The Short-tailed Shearwater was first formally described by Dutch ornithologist Jacob Temminck in 1835.
It was recorded much earlier by members of Captain Cook's Third Expedition in 1778 while sailing in the Arctic Ocean. William Ellis, an artist on the 'Discovery' painted the bird.
The common name, shearwater, is a reference to their graceful shearing flight moving from centimetres above the water's surface to high in the sky.
A group of shearwaters are collectively known as an "improbability" of shearwaters.