shearwater

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shearwater,

common name for members of the family Procellariidae, gull-like sea birds related to the petrelpetrel
, common name given various oceanic birds belonging, like the albatross and the shearwater, to the order known commonly as tube-nosed swimmers. There are two families of petrels: the storm petrels (Hydrobatidae) and the diving petrels (Pelecanoididae).
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 and the albatross and including the fulmar. Shearwaters are found on unfrozen saltwaters all over the world, with 35 species in North America. They have tubular nostrils, hooked bills enlarged at the tip, short tails, and long, pointed wings. They feed on marine animals and oily matter on the open seas, coming to shore only to breed. Shearwaters are 15 to 25 in. (37.5–62.5 cm) long, dark above and light below—except for the grayish-bellied sooty shearwater, Puffinus griseus, of the Pacific, which migrates across the whole ocean region. Most common in the North Atlantic are the greater shearwater and Cory's shearwater. The slender-billed shearwater of Australia, P. tenuirostris, which also migrates over the entire Pacific, is a game bird known also as muttonbird or Tasmanian squab. The two fulmars, one of the North Atlantic and the other, the silver-gray fulmar, of antarctic regions, have thick, stubby yellow bills. Shearwaters are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Procellariiformes, family Procellariidae.

shearwater

[′shir‚wȯd·ər]
(vertebrate zoology)
Any of various species of oceanic birds of the genus Puffinus having tubular nostrils and long wings.
References in periodicals archive ?
Manx shear waters are strange birds which nest in underground burrows.
Steve Stansfield, warden of Bardsey Bird Observatory, was reunited with the bird during the early hours, when shear waters fly ashore to escape predatory gulls.
A few sooty shear waters and British storm petrels were offshore and a typically confiding dotter el snoozed on the beach, while purple sandpipers fed around the crumbling remains of World War II sea defences, but this most famous of peninsulas between the Humber and North Sea was hardly jump-ing bird-wise.
Offshore sea birds are passing and careful scanning should produce Manx shear waters and gannets.