Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

“The Balearic Shearwater is special”. So what needs to be done to conserve it?

J.M. “Pep” Arcos and colleagues have written an article in the July 2015 issue of BirdLife Europe’s electronic newsletter Birdseye that considers the conservation needs of the ACAP-listed and Critically Endangered Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus.

A paragraph from their article follows:

 “Balearic Shearwater may not be the most colourful bird, it’s rather brownish and could be mistaken for a gull by an untrained eye, but it’s special. Only found as a breeder in the western Mediterranean’s Balearic Islands where it nests in caves, crevices and under rock boulders in inaccessible sea cliffs and small islets.  We think there are just a little over 3,000 breeding pairs, and maybe a global population of about 25,000 individuals.  It’s long lived, most likely some birds live over 30 years though we have no sound data on this, it begins mating at 3 years of age, and lays a single egg per year.  Losing adult birds is therefore of serious concern, as they are not quickly or easily replaced.  Unfortunately, the population has been steadily declining as a consequence of several threats, particularly fisheries bycatch at sea and predation by invasive species on land. This trend is alarming and scientists say it could become extinct in slightly over half a century.”

A Balearic Shearwater at its cave breeding site, photograph by Miguel McMinn 

Click here for an earlier account on the Balearic Shearwater in ACAP Latest News and here to access the International Action Plan for the species.


Arcos, J.M., David García, D., Oro, D., Genovart, M.& Louzao, M. 2015.  Keeping an eye on Balearic Shearwater.  Birdseye 22(7).

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 08 August 2015

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