Shearwaters and Petrels
The family Procellariidae includes 26 species found in North America.
Petrels, Shearwaters, Fulmars and Diving-Petrels are known as the tubenoses or tube-nosed swimmers. They are pelagic, occur in all oceans and nest mainly in the higher latitudes of both hemispheres. Some high-latitude species move to lower latitudes or tropical waters in the non-breeding season and others are trans-equatorial migrants to high latitudes in the opposite hemisphere. Some make long movements during the non-breeding season, often far from the breeding grounds.
Wings are long and narrow. The bill is heavy (slender in shearwaters). Sexes are similar in plumage, mostly black or gray above and white below or all dark gray. Food is mainly fish, squid and crustaceans, often as plankton. They also take carrion and scavenge. Pterodroma species feed by swooping to the surface and pattering with the feet while picking up food items. Shearwaters dive from a height and from the surface and pursue prey underwater.
They nest in colonies. Some larger species nest in the open, often on cliffs and are active during the day. Small species dig burrows and are active mainly at night. All species have a long breeding cycle.
Shearwaters- Patuxent Bird ID Center