List Determination & Taxonomy

Masked Booby Sula dactylatra Hawaii, USA.  Photo by George Wallace.  

The original list of seabirds used throughout this site was produced by extracting all members of the Alcidae, Anatidae, Chionidae, Diomedeidae, Fregatidae, Gaviidae, Hydrobatidae, Laridae, Pelecanidae, Pelecanoididae, Phaetontidae, Phalacrocoracidae, Podicipedidae, Procellariidae, Spheniscidae, Stercorariidae, Sulidae and the two members of the genus Phalaropus (Scolopacidae) from the taxonomy accepted by the International Ornithologists’ Committee (IOC) (version 3.4), which yielded 555 species. The seabirds were extracted from this list by using BirdLife International’s categorization of species as seabirds which yielded 351 species. Subspecies not recognized at the species level by the IOC were eliminated. All species new to science, as well as sister and daughter taxa of species present in the BirdLife stratification of the IOC list were included (e.g. the former members of Puffinus lherminieri). This yielded a total of 371 species. Six extinct species were eliminated from the list. A few species were added as research progressed and it became clear that these additional species merited inclusion as they use the marine environment for a significant portion of their lifecycle or seasonal movements and/or have been documented in marine fishing gear.


In the current update (2021), we reviewed taxonomic changes between the original list and the IOC list (version 11.1). Between the two versions, there were eight new species added (split from species in the 2015 list), and two species lost (lumped into previously-existing species). Some scientific and common names had also been changed; these were updated to the current version. The current taxonomy now has a total of 384 species of seabirds for which full profiles have been developed. The full list is in the table below.  

Basic information on population status, foraging ecology, phenology and ship-following behavior was collected for each species. Population status relies to a large extent on IUCN evaluations; if the figures are derived from other sources this is noted in the Ecology Notes. Some species accepted by the IOC [particularly the southern ocean (Imperial) Shag complex (Phalacrocorax atriceps) split into several species and here treated as the Leucocarbo spp.] are not recognized by BirdLife International, and are thus not evaluated by the IUCN as to Red List status. Please see the Definitions page for precise descriptions of each of the fields used in a species profile.

Tachyeres patachonicus Flying Steamer Duck
Tachyeres pteneres Fuegian Steamer Duck
Tachyeres brachypterus Falkland Steamer Duck
Tachyeres leucocephalus Chubut Steamer Duck
Aythya marila Greater Scaup
Polysticta stelleri Steller's Eider
Somateria fischeri Spectacled Eider
Somateria spectabilis King Eider
Somateria mollissima Common Eider
Histrionicus histrionicus Harlequin Duck
Melanitta perspicillata Surf Scoter
Melanitta stejnegeri Stejneger's Scoter
Melanitta fusca Velvet Scoter
Melanitta deglandi White-winged Scoter
Melanitta nigra Common Scoter
Melanitta americana Black Scoter
Clangula hyemalis Long-tailed Duck
Bucephala albeola Bufflehead
Bucephala clangula Common Goldeneye
Bucephala islandica Barrow's Goldeneye
Mergellus albellus Smew
Lophodytes cucullatus Hooded Merganser
Mergus merganser Common Merganser
Mergus serrator Red-breasted Merganser
Gavia stellata Red-throated Loon
Gavia arctica Black-throated Loon
Gavia pacifica Pacific Loon
Gavia immer Common Loon
Gavia adamsii Yellow-billed Loon
Aptenodytes patagonicus King Penguin
Aptenodytes forsteri Emperor Penguin
Pygoscelis papua Gentoo Penguin
Pygoscelis adeliae Adélie Penguin
Pygoscelis antarcticus Chinstrap Penguin
Eudyptes pachyrhynchus Fiordland Penguin
Eudyptes robustus Snares Penguin
Eudyptes sclateri Erect-crested Penguin
Eudyptes chrysocome Southern Rockhopper Penguin
Eudyptes moseleyi Northern Rockhopper Penguin
Eudyptes schlegeli Royal Penguin
Eudyptes chrysolophus Macaroni Penguin
Megadyptes antipodes Yellow-eyed Penguin
Eudyptula minor Little Penguin
Spheniscus demersus African Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus humboldti Humboldt Penguin
Spheniscus mendiculus Galápagos Penguin
Phoebastria immutabilis Laysan Albatross
Phoebastria nigripes Black-footed Albatross
Phoebastria irrorata Waved Albatross
Phoebastria albatrus Short-tailed Albatross
Diomedea exulans Wandering Albatross
Diomedea antipodensis Antipodean Albatross
Diomedea amsterdamensis Amsterdam Albatross
Diomedea dabbenena Tristan Albatross
Diomedea epomophora Southern Royal Albatross
Diomedea sanfordi Northern Royal Albatross
Phoebetria fusca Sooty Albatross
Phoebetria palpebrata Light-mantled Albatross
Thalassarche melanophris Black-browed Albatross
Thalassarche impavida Campbell Albatross
Thalassarche cauta Shy Albatross
Thalassarche eremita Chatham Albatross
Thalassarche salvini Salvin's Albatross
Thalassarche chrysostoma Gray-headed Albatross
Thalassarche chlororhynchos Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross
Thalassarche carteri Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross
Thalassarche bulleri Buller's Albatross
Macronectes giganteus Southern Giant Petrel
Macronectes halli Northern Giant Petrel
Fulmarus glacialis Northern Fulmar
Fulmarus glacialoides Southern Fulmar
Thalassoica antarctica Antarctic Petrel
Daption capense Cape Petrel
Pagodroma nivea Snow Petrel
Halobaena caerulea Blue Petrel
Pachyptila vittata Broad-billed Prion
Pachyptila salvini Salvin's Prion
Pachyptila desolata Antarctic Prion
Pachyptila belcheri Slender-billed Prion
Pachyptila turtur Fairy Prion
Pachyptila crassirostris Fulmar Prion
Aphrodroma brevirostris Kerguelen Petrel
Pterodroma macroptera Great-winged Petrel
Pterodroma lessonii White-headed Petrel
Pterodroma incerta Atlantic Petrel
Pterodroma solandri Providence Petrel
Pterodroma magentae Magenta Petrel
Pterodroma ultima Murphy's Petrel
Pterodroma mollis Soft-plumaged Petrel
Pterodroma madeira Zino's Petrel
Pterodroma feae Fea's Petrel
Pterodroma deserta Desertas Petrel
Pterodroma cahow Bermuda Petrel
Pterodroma hasitata Black-capped Petrel
Pterodroma externa Juan Fernández Petrel
Pterodroma neglecta Kermadec Petrel
Pterodroma occulta Vanuatu Petrel
Pterodroma heraldica Herald Petrel
Pterodroma arminjoniana Trindade Petrel
Pterodroma atrata Henderson Petrel
Pterodroma alba Phoenix Petrel
Pterodroma baraui Barau's Petrel
Pterodroma sandwichensis Hawaiian Petrel
Pterodroma phaeopygia Galápagos Petrel
Pterodroma inexpectata Mottled Petrel
Pterodroma cervicalis White-necked Petrel
Pterodroma nigripennis Black-winged Petrel
Pterodroma axillaris Chatham Petrel
Pterodroma hypoleuca Bonin Petrel
Pterodroma leucoptera Gould's Petrel
Pterodroma brevipes Collared Petrel
Pterodroma cookii Cook's Petrel
Pterodroma defilippiana De Filippi's Petrel
Pterodroma longirostris Stejneger's Petrel
Pterodroma pycrofti Pycroft's Petrel
Pseudobulweria aterrima Mascarene Petrel
Pseudobulweria rostrata Tahiti Petrel
Pseudobulweria becki Beck's Petrel
Pseudobulweria macgillivrayi Fiji Petrel
Procellaria cinerea Gray Petrel
Procellaria aequinoctialis White-chinned Petrel
Procellaria conspicillata Spectacled Petrel
Procellaria parkinsoni Black Petrel
Procellaria westlandica Westland Petrel
Calonectris leucomelas Streaked Shearwater
Calonectris diomedea Scopoli's Shearwater
Calonectris borealis Cory's Shearwater
Calonectris edwardsii Cape Verde Shearwater
Ardenna pacifica Wedge-tailed Shearwater
Ardenna bulleri Buller's Shearwater
Ardenna grisea Sooty Shearwater
Ardenna tenuirostris Short-tailed Shearwater
Ardenna creatopus Pink-footed Shearwater
Ardenna carneipes Flesh-footed Shearwater
Ardenna gravis Great Shearwater
Puffinus nativitatis Christmas Shearwater
Puffinus puffinus Manx Shearwater
Puffinus yelkouan Yelkouan Shearwater
Puffinus mauretanicus Balearic Shearwater
Puffinus bryani Bryan's Shearwater
Puffinus opisthomelas Black-vented Shearwater
Puffinus auricularis Townsend's Shearwater
Puffinus newelli Newell's Shearwater
Puffinus myrtae Rapa Shearwater
Puffinus gavia Fluttering Shearwater
Puffinus huttoni Hutton's Shearwater
Puffinus lherminieri Audubon's Shearwater
Puffinus persicus Persian Shearwater
Puffinus bailloni Tropical Shearwater
Puffinus subalaris Galápagos Shearwater
Puffinus bannermani Bannerman's Shearwater
Puffinus heinrothi Heinroth's Shearwater
Puffinus assimilis Little Shearwater
Puffinus baroli Barolo Shearwater
Puffinus boydi Boyd's Shearwater
Bulweria bulwerii Bulwer's Petrel
Bulweria fallax Jouanin's Petrel
Oceanites oceanicus Wilson's Storm Petrel
Oceanites gracilis Elliot's Storm Petrel
Oceanites pincoyae Pincoya Storm Petrel
Garrodia nereis Gray-backed Storm Petrel
Pelagodroma marina White-faced Storm Petrel
Fregetta grallaria White-bellied Storm Petrel
Fregetta tropica Black-bellied Storm Petrel
Fregetta maoriana New Zealand Storm Petrel
Nesofregetta fuliginosa Polynesian Storm Petrel
Hydrobates pelagicus European Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma microsoma Least Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma tethys Wedge-rumped Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma castro Band-rumped Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma monteiroi Monteiro's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma jabejabe Cape Verde Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma monorhis Swinhoe's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma leucorhoa Leach's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma socorroensis Townsend's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma cheimomnestes Ainley's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma markhami Markham's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma tristrami Tristram's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma melania Black Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma matsudairae Matsudaira's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma homochroa Ashy Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma hornbyi Hornby's Storm Petrel
Oceanodroma furcata Fork-tailed Storm Petrel
Pelecanoides garnotii Peruvian Diving Petrel
Pelecanoides magellani Magellanic Diving Petrel
Pelecanoides georgicus South Georgia Diving Petrel
Pelecanoides urinatrix Common Diving Petrel
Podiceps major Great Grebe
Podiceps grisegena Red-necked Grebe
Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe
Podiceps auritus Horned Grebe
Podiceps nigricollis Black-necked Grebe
Aechmophorus occidentalis Western Grebe
Aechmophorus clarkii Clark's Grebe
Phaethon aethereus Red-billed Tropicbird
Phaethon rubricauda Red-tailed Tropicbird
Phaethon lepturus White-tailed Tropicbird
Pelecanus onocrotalus Great White Pelican
Pelecanus crispus Dalmatian Pelican
Pelecanus conspicillatus Australian Pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos American White Pelican
Pelecanus occidentalis Brown Pelican
Pelecanus thagus Peruvian Pelican
Fregata aquila Ascension Frigatebird
Fregata andrewsi Christmas Frigatebird
Fregata magnificens Magnificent Frigatebird
Fregata minor Great Frigatebird
Fregata ariel Lesser Frigatebird
Morus bassanus Northern Gannet
Morus capensis Cape Gannet
Morus serrator Australasian Gannet
Papasula abbotti Abbott's Booby
Sula nebouxii Blue-footed Booby
Sula variegata Peruvian Booby
Sula dactylatra Masked Booby
Sula granti Nazca Booby
Sula sula Red-footed Booby
Sula leucogaster Brown Booby
Microcarbo melanoleucos Little Pied Cormorant
Microcarbo coronatus Crowned Cormorant
Phalacrocorax gaimardi Red-legged Cormorant
Phalacrocorax harrisi Flightless Cormorant
Phalacrocorax neglectus Bank Cormorant
Phalacrocorax punctatus Spotted Shag
Phalacrocorax featherstoni Pitt Shag
Phalacrocorax penicillatus Brandt's Cormorant
Phalacrocorax pelagicus Pelagic Cormorant
Phalacrocorax urile Red-faced Cormorant
Phalacrocorax brasilianus Neotropic Cormorant
Phalacrocorax auritus Double-crested Cormorant
Phalacrocorax aristotelis European Shag
Phalacrocorax fuscescens Black-faced Cormorant
Phalacrocorax fuscicollis Indian Cormorant
Phalacrocorax varius Australian Pied Cormorant
Phalacrocorax carbo Great Cormorant
Phalacrocorax lucidus White-breasted Cormorant
Phalacrocorax capillatus Japanese Cormorant
Phalacrocorax capensis Cape Cormorant
Phalacrocorax nigrogularis Socotra Cormorant
Phalacrocorax magellanicus Rock Shag
Leucocarbo bougainvillii Guanay Cormorant
Leucocarbo atriceps Imperial Shag
Leucocarbo georgianus South Georgia Shag
Leucocarbo bransfieldensis Antarctic Shag
Leucocarbo nivalis Heard Island Shag
Leucocarbo melanogenis Crozet Shag
Leucocarbo purpurascens Macquarie Shag
Leucocarbo verrucosus Kerguelen Shag
Leucocarbo carunculatus New Zealand King Shag
Leucocarbo chalconotus  Otago Shag
Leucocarbo stewarti Foveaux Shag
Leucocarbo onslowi Chatham Shag
Leucocarbo campbelli Campbell Shag
Leucocarbo colensoi Auckland Shag
Leucocarbo ranfurlyi Bounty Shag
Chionis albus Snowy Sheathbill
Phalaropus lobatus Red-necked Phalarope
Phalaropus fulicarius Red Phalarope
Anous stolidus Brown Noddy
Anous tenuirostris Lesser Noddy
Anous minutus Black Noddy
Procelsterna cerulea Blue Noddy
Procelsterna albivitta Gray Noddy
Gygis alba White Tern
Rynchops niger Black Skimmer
Creagrus furcatus Swallow-tailed Gull
Rissa tridactyla Black-legged Kittiwake
Rissa brevirostris Red-legged Kittiwake
Pagophila eburnea Ivory Gull
Xema sabini Sabine's Gull
Chroicocephalus genei Slender-billed Gull
Chroicocephalus philadelphia Bonaparte's Gull
Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae Silver Gull
Chroicocephalus bulleri Black-billed Gull
Chroicocephalus brunnicephalus Brown-headed Gull
Chroicocephalus maculipennis Brown-hooded Gull
Chroicocephalus ridibundus Black-headed Gull
Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus Gray-headed Gull
Chroicocephalus hartlaubii Hartlaub's Gull
Chroicocephalus saundersi Saunders's Gull
Hydrocoloeus minutus Little Gull
Rhodostethia rosea Ross's Gull
Leucophaeus scoresbii Dolphin Gull
Leucophaeus fuliginosus Lava Gull
Leucophaeus atricilla Laughing Gull
Leucophaeus pipixcan Franklin's Gull
Leucophaeus modestus Gray Gull
Ichthyaetus relictus Relict Gull
Ichthyaetus audouinii Audouin's Gull
Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Mediterranean Gull
Ichthyaetus ichthyaetus Pallas's Gull
Ichthyaetus leucophthalmus White-eyed Gull
Ichthyaetus hemprichii Sooty Gull
Larus pacificus Pacific Gull
Larus belcheri Belcher's Gull
Larus atlanticus Olrog's Gull
Larus crassirostris Black-tailed Gull
Larus heermanni Heermann's Gull
Larus canus Mew Gull
Larus delawarensis Ring-billed Gull
Larus californicus California Gull
Larus marinus Great Black-backed Gull
Larus dominicanus Kelp Gull
Larus glaucescens Glaucous-winged Gull
Larus occidentalis Western Gull
Larus livens Yellow-footed Gull
Larus hyperboreus Glaucous Gull
Larus glaucoides Iceland Gull
Larus argentatus European Herring Gull
Larus smithsonianus American Herring Gull
Larus vegae Vega Gull
Larus cachinnans Caspian Gull
Larus michahellis Yellow-legged Gull
Larus armenicus Armenian Gull
Larus schistisagus Slaty-backed Gull
Larus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull
Gelochelidon nilotica Gull-billed Tern
Gelochelidon macrotarsa Australian Tern
Hydroprogne caspia Caspian Tern
Thalasseus maximus Royal Tern
Thalasseus albididorsalis West African Crested Tern
Thalasseus bergii Greater Crested Tern
Thalasseus elegans Elegant Tern
Thalasseus bengalensis Lesser Crested Tern
Thalasseus bernsteini Chinese Crested Tern
Thalasseus sandvicensis Sandwich Tern
Sternula albifrons Little Tern
Sternula saundersi Saunders's Tern
Sternula antillarum Least Tern
Sternula lorata Peruvian Tern
Sternula nereis Fairy Tern
Sternula balaenarum Damara Tern
Onychoprion aleuticus Aleutian Tern
Onychoprion lunatus Spectacled Tern
Onychoprion anaethetus Bridled Tern
Onychoprion fuscatus Sooty Tern
Sterna dougallii Roseate Tern
Sterna striata White-fronted Tern
Sterna sumatrana Black-naped Tern
Sterna hirundinacea South American Tern
Sterna hirundo Common Tern
Sterna repressa White-cheeked Tern
Sterna paradisaea Arctic Tern
Sterna vittata Antarctic Tern
Sterna virgata Kerguelen Tern
Sterna forsteri Forster's Tern
Sterna trudeaui Snowy-crowned Tern
Chlidonias albostriatus Black-fronted Tern
Chlidonias leucopterus White-winged Tern
Chlidonias niger Black Tern
Larosterna inca Inca Tern
Stercorarius chilensis Chilean Skua
Stercorarius maccormicki South Polar Skua
Stercorarius antarcticus Brown Skua
Stercorarius skua Great Skua
Stercorarius pomarinus Pomarine Skua
Stercorarius parasiticus Parasitic Jaeger
Stercorarius longicaudus Long-tailed Jaeger
Alle alle Little Auk
Uria lomvia Thick-billed Murre
Uria aalge Common Murre
Alca torda Razorbill
Cepphus grylle Black Guillemot
Cepphus columba Pigeon Guillemot
Cepphus carbo Spectacled Guillemot
Brachyramphus marmoratus Marbled Murrelet
Brachyramphus perdix Long-billed Murrelet
Brachyramphus brevirostris Kittlitz's Murrelet
Synthliboramphus hypoleucus Guadalupe Murrelet
Synthliboramphus scrippsi Scripps's Murrelet
Synthliboramphus craveri Craveri's Murrelet
Synthliboramphus antiquus Ancient Murrelet
Synthliboramphus wumizusume Japanese Murrelet
Ptychoramphus aleuticus Cassin's Auklet
Aethia psittacula Parakeet Auklet
Aethia pusilla Least Auklet
Aethia pygmaea Whiskered Auklet
Aethia cristatella Crested Auklet
Cerorhinca monocerata Rhinoceros Auklet
Fratercula arctica Atlantic Puffin
Fratercula corniculata Horned Puffin
Fratercula cirrhata Tufted Puffin