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Great Shearwater | Puffinus gravis

The Great Shearwater is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Procellariidae bird family group which includes birds such as Petrels, Shearwaters.

The description for the Great Shearwater (Latin name Puffinus gravis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Puffinus gravis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 35 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 671. You will find a picture of the Great Shearwater on page 704.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. There have been no changes in the Latin name for the Great Shearwater between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition

The Great Shearwater has a height of 51 cms and weighs around 850 gms. The head is coloured black, brown while the bill is coloured grey, black. The Puffinus gravis has a white coloured throat, pink legs and a black, brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is black, brown

Eyes are brown

Bill is grey, black

Legs are pink

Throat is white

Back is black, brown

Feeding Habits ...

This birds forages for fish and other aquatic dwellers through surface sizing and diving for food in the water.

This bird has a specially adapted bill which helps it hunt for fish, crabs, shrimp and other aquatic animals in the water.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Great Shearwater is a very rare bird that can only be seen out at sea following fish vessels. It can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

This bird is usually seen in small family groups or in large flocks

The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition * edited by PAR Hockey, WRJ Dean and PG Ryan, published by "The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund."

copyright: Tony Roocroft +27-11-454-0105

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