Cory’s shearwaters are the most widespread seabirds in subtropical latitudes of the NE Atlantic. After breeding they travel to the South Atlantic. Their migrations are spectacular and at the breeding sites, partly due to their noisy behaviour, they are widely known by local inhabitants and visitors. Hence, these top marine predators can be used as sentinel organisms of the state of the ocean, because they integrate environmental signals over large spatial and temporal scales, and they can convey relevant information for decision-makers. Results from monitoring of indicator species such as this one can also be better understood by the public than complex information about entire ecosystems.


The largest world colony of Cory’s shearwaters is the one at the Selvagens Islands (Portugal). Here, regular studies have been carried out since the 1970s by several researchers. After a period without directed research efforts around the turn of the century, our team started a long-term monitoring effort in 2004. The monitoring includes a detailed demographic study, plus several behavioural and ecological research projects, including aspects as diverse as the biology of senescence, the foraging ecology or different aspects of migratory behaviour. Cory’s shearwater studies are not restricted to the Selvagens and in recent years we have been working on Berlenga (on the Portuguese shelf) too. We also take the opportunity of our long stays on Selvagens to do research on other seabirds, including several other petrel species and gulls.
See also interesting results and previous projects
- A 2-year post-doctoral project focused on "causes and consequences of variability in migratory behaviour in a pelagic seabird, the Cory's Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)" funded by Ministerio de Educación (EDU/2728/2011.Spanish Government) started on the 1st of November 2011.
- A 4-year PhD project focused on the diet of pelagic petrels (including Cory’s shearwaters) started on the 1st of April 2011.
- Cory’s shearwater bird of the year 2011.
We often have opportunities and short-term research projects for undergraduate and post-graduate students, and for volunteers, so feel free to contact us.