Black-vented Shearwater: Medium shearwater, brown-black upperparts, white underparts, brown mottling on sides of breast and flanks. Dark cap extends below eye. Tail is dark. Eats fish, crustaceans, and squid. Quick low flight with short stiff wingbeats followed by glide. Soars in high winds.
Range and Habitat
Black-vented Shearwater: Breeds on islands off Baja California. Year-round visitor off the coast of southern California, but most commonly in late fall and winter. Lives on open ocean, only comes ashore to breed.
It flies close to the waves, its flight more fluttery than that of other shearwaters. It rarely follows ships, but feeds by snatching food from the water's surface and sometimes by diving. It also swims beneath the surface, aided by its wings.
The Black-vented Shearwater is frequently seen from shore. They are only found in the waters off southern and Baja California, where it nests on isolated islands in the California Current. Natividad Island may host as much as 30-40% of the global population of this species.
The form that visits California waters has dark under tail coverts and was formerly considered a race of the Manx Shearwater, a resident of the North Atlantic.
A group of shearwaters are collectively known as an "improbability" of shearwaters.