Cape Verde Shearwater (Calonectris edwardsii)


For many years the the Cape Verde Shearwater (Calonectris edwardsii) and Cory’s Shearwater were viewed as one, but after extensive research, many differences between the two have been identified. This has led to a classification of the two as seperate species. As these two groups are often found together, it is clear that the Cape Verde Shearwater is significantly smaller than his counterpart, with a lighter build and with darker plumage and much darker coloring of the head. Their bills also differ, in that the Cape Verde has a lighter bill and is gray horn colored, on closer inspection. Both birds are brown of color with white bellies, and white underneath their wings.

The Cape Verde Shearwater is a sea bird, and can be found on the Cape Verde Islands, located in the North Atlantic, and just off the African mainland coast, in the waters near Senegal. Nesting and breeding is particularly difficult for the Cape Verde Shearwater, as many inhabitants of the island collect the nestlings, which are then dried and salted and sold as food. This factor, along with the destruction of habitat and the fact that foreign animals and vegetation have been introduced, has caused the numbers to decline.

These sea birds feed on fish, any left-over fish parts from the fishing boats, and mollusks. They can be seen staying near to the fishing trawlers, in the hope of any scraps that might serve them as a meal. Cape Verde Shearwaters are able to fly extremely low to the water, and are often barely inches above the surface as they glide over waters’ surface searching for fish.

The Cape Verde Shearwater is definitely distinctive, and deserves to be separated from the Cory’s Shearwater. It is just hoped that bird conservation efforts will be successful, and prevent the numbers of the population to fall any lower than they already are. This beautiful and graceful bird should be protected for future generations to see.