Booderee National Park

Important COVID-19 update

Booderee National Park has a number of COVID-19 safety measures in place to protect visitors, staff and the local community.

For further information on Booderee National Park’s COVID-19 safety measures please refer to the COVID-19 safety webpage and check the entry requirements before visiting Booderee National Park.

Short-tailed shearwater Short-tailed shearwater

Completely dark brown in plumage, the short-tailed shearwater (or mutton bird) occasionally shows traces of white in the centre of the underwing. It grows up to 43 centimetres long, with a rounded tail. In flight the dark grey feet can be seen trailing slightly behind.

Where

Take a walk to Governors Head and keep an eye out around Bowen Island, where a nesting colony exists.

Feeding

In the summer months you’ll see these shearwaters gliding at speed, just above the water, executing breathtaking banking turns as they swoop and dive for a meal of krill, small fish and small marine creatures. The waters off Bowen Island are a good place to watch for them on the hunt for dinner.

Breeding

In summer the shearwaters breed in their millions on islands off southern Australia foraging as far south as Antarctic waters. Once the chicks have reached adult size the parents depart for the world’s richest fishing ground in the Bering Sea off Alaska! When they return to Australia in early summer sadly many are battered by storms and some are so exhausted they die and wash up on beaches. As shown, the shearwaters nest by lining burrows and producing one white egg. A nesting colony exists on the northern tip of Bowen Island.

Sounds

This bird often calls with its breeding partner to warn birds away from the nest. The sound is a low, mournful ooaaaw.