The magnificent, powerful, elegant Sooty Shearwater is a prize for seawatchers. It’s not the rarest shearwater, but neither is it at all common. This is generally a scarce bird, seen at sea or from coastal watchpoints, shearing over the water (of course). They are dark brown, looking black, with an elegant cigar-shaped body and long, straightish wings which flash silvery on the underwing. Beware the similarly patterned Balearic Shearwaters (another scarce seabird), which can also be dark (though not usually as dark as Sooties), but are smaller, less powerful, and look a bit more ‘pot bellied’.