BIRDS OF ICELAND : Manx shearwater, Puffinus puffinus

Puffinus puffinus; the Manx shearwaters are birds of seas and oceans. They only come to shores to breed. Characteristically they have a white belly with dark top parts (upper side of wings). Like many members of this group, the adults feed their youngsters at night, leaving them alone at their protective sheltering (hollows) nests during daytime. Then the adults for hunt food (fish). Their main breeding ground is to be found at the Vestmanneyar and they can be seen along the south-west coast of Iceland. In winter they leave for the South Atlantic and South America. Apart from Manx shearwater two other species can be found being the Sooty Shearwater (P. griseus) and the Great Shearwater (P. gravis). Both are about 10 cm longer than the 30/35 cm long Manx Shearwater. The sooty is very dark with only a few lighter patches on the bottom part of the wing while the Great Shearwater has a black head rather similar to terns like the arctic tern. These however, are guests which breed in the southern hemisphere during the winter of the northern hemisphere and flee the southern hemisphere winter to the northern hemisphere's summer.

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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