Scopoli´s Shearwater is a seabird that only lands at the time of breeding. It is found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the East Atlantic Ocean. In Croatia it can be found on the remote islands such as Lastovo archipelago, Sušac, St. Andrija and Palagruža, where they count 1200 to 1750 pairs.
Along with the Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), it is the only breeding species of Shearwaters (Procellariiformes) is in Croatia. Its size is similar to Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis) and is easily recognized by the characteristic sliding above the water surface with long, narrow and slightly curved wings. It is brown from above and whitish from below with a characteristic brownish side of the chest, neck, and head. It looks like a Yelkouan Shearwater but is distinguished by a large, strong and light-coloured beak. Until recently, this species was considered to be a subspecies of Cory´s Shearwater (Calonectris borealis), but after more research, the Mediterranean population was confirmed as a separate species.
They nest in colonies, often with other seabirds, on rocky islands and shores, in rock crevices, cracks, and pits or smaller caves. Locations of nests are usually inaccessible, making it difficult to locate them and do research. When searching for suitable nests location, pairs sometimes get into conflicts with each other so when they find appropriate holes, they guard them for a long time, sometimes even up to 3 months before egg laying. The holes are initially protected only during the night, and, as the incubation time is near, they begin to guard them during the day as well. Like other species of Shearwaters, they lay only one egg. The laying is synchronized among the females, so all the eggs are laid almost at the same time. The couples are monogamous and they stay together for many years. Both parents are incubating the egg and chick hatches after nearly two months of incubation. Parents will take care of the bird for the next 100 days. Interestingly, they are sexually mature after 7 to 13 years of age, and they can live more than 30 years.
Their diet consists of fish, squid, crab, and also carcasses and remains around fishing boats. They mostly feed at night and they catch the prey below or on the surface of the sea. They can dive using wings, but they rarely dive deeper than 10 meters. They often hunt in smaller or larger groups and among large groups of dolphins, tuna fish or seals, collecting the fish that flies away from the predator on the surface of the sea.
Because of the relatively larger number, the breeding population in Croatia has the status of near threatened (NT) species, accordingly to IUCN Red List classification. The species is protected by the Nature Protection Law of Croatia. It is internationally protected by the Annex I of the Birds Directive and by the Annex II of the Bern Convention. All breeding areas are listed as Special Protection Areas (SPA) of Natura 2000 Network and a part of breeding areas are also located in the Nature Park Lastovo Islands.