Closely related to the Short-tailed Shearwater, the Sooty Shearwater is a large member of the family with a wingspan of around 1 m and a length of 46 - 54 cm. Shearwaters make use of air moving up the front of waves in order to fly down troughs looking for fish and cephalopods and fly on long, stiff wings. They breed on islands around Australia, New Zealand, Chile and the Falklands and take part in immense migrations over huge distances, occasionally turning up as far away as the UK and Norway for Atlantic populations and Australasian birds making it as far as Japan and Alaska before turning south for the breeding season. Another name for these birds is 'muttonbird' and the chicks are traditionally harvested by the Maori each year for food and oil, to whom they are known as the titi.
1-2: Tasman Sea, Wollongong Pelagic, NSW, 23/06/2012.