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Wedge-Tailed Shearwater

Chris Packham presents the wedge-tailed shearwater of the Indian and Pacific oceans.

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Chris Packham presents the wedge-tailed shearwater of the Indian and Pacific oceans. Wedge-tailed shearwaters are large sepia brown seabirds with long wings and streamlined bodies. They feed mainly on fish and squid which they scoop from the surface or catch by diving. While the parents are careering over the open seas, their solitary chick squats alone in its island burrow. The return of the adults means a welcome feast for the chick. Its reward is a mouthful of warm and waxy stomach oil, the digested remains of the adults prey. It may sound revolting to us, but this oil is rich in energy and allows the chick to grow even bigger than its parents before losing weight again prior to its first flight, which happens a few weeks after the adult birds have abandoned it to its fate.

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2 minutes

Wedge-tailed shearwater (Puffinus pacificus)

Webpage image courtesy of Yukihiro Fukuda / naturepl.com.

NPL Ref 01405075 © Yukihiro Fukuda / naturepl.com

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