Texas Seabirds – Pelagic Status Offshore Texas and in the Gulf of Mexico

This table lists all the seabirds that have been found in Texas, plus one hypothetical species. Some of the accidental species have been found along the coast but not necessarily found on Texas Pelagic trips. However it is possible that they may eventually be found on a Texas Pelagic, like the Yellow-nosed Albatross was, after have been first found along Texas beaches dead or dying. (See footnotes below.)

There are photo galleries for the species that are highlight in blue links. If you’re unfamiliar with these Species it is a good idea to review these photo galleries prior to a Texas Pelagic to brush up your identification skills.

  TEXAS PELAGIC, OFFSHORE & NEARSHORE SEABIRD SPECIES        
  SEABIRDS PG  RV  LOWER TEXAS COAST STATUS (*1) TEXAS STATUS    (*2) GULF OF MEXICO STATUS  (*3)
1  Yellow-nosed Albatross PG R  Accidental in spring and fall   Accidental: four Texas records  Accidental: four Texas records
2  Black-capped Petrel   R  —-  Accidental: two Texas records  Very rare
3  Cory’s Shearwater PG    Uncommon in summer and fall        Uncommon summer and fall  June-Nov.; locally common Sept.-Oct.
4  Great Shearwater PG R  Accidental in fall  Casual visitor, 11 records  Rare throughout the year
5  Sooty Shearwater PG R  Accidental in winter  Casual visitor, 13 records  Rare throughout the year
6  Manx Shearwater   R  Accidental in fall  Accidental: six Texas records  FL: Very Rare Sept-April
7  Audubon’s Shearwater PG    Rare in summer and fall                  Uncommon summer and fall  April-Nov.; rare remainder of year
8  Wilson’s Storm-Petrel N R  —– Accidental: one Texas Record  LA: Fairly Common May-Aug.
9  Leach’s Storm-Petrel PG R  Rare in summer and Fall                   Rare to very rare 22 doc records  FL: Rare May – Nov
10  Band-rumped Storm-Petrel PG    Fairly common in spring through fall  Uncommon to Rare  April-Sept. (late May-early Aug. best)
11  Red-billed Tropicbird PG R  Accidental in summer and fall  Accidental: nine Texas records  Very rare
12  Magnificent Frigatebird PG    Uncommon in summer and fall         Uncommon in summer and fall  Locally abundant April-Nov.; rare remainder of year
13  Masked Booby PG    Uncommon in summer and fall          Uncommon in summer and fall  Uncommon April-May, Oct-Nov.: com June-Sept.
14  Brown Booby PG R  Very rare in all seasons  Very rare; 19 TX records  Rare throughout the year
15  Northern Gannet      Uncommon fall/winter; rare summer  Uncom to common Mig + winter  Locally abundant April-Nov. rare remainder of year
16  Brown Pelican      Common nearshore  Common resident nearshore  Common resident nearshore
17  Red-necked Phalarope   R  —-  Uncommon to Rare fall mig.  Uncommon migrant, season uncertain
18  Red Phalarope R  —-  Very Rare Fall mig; 28 TX records  Rare migrant, season uncertain
19  Black-legged Kittiwake    Rare in winter  Rare Winter Visitor  Rare winter
20  Sabine’s Gull      —-  Rare Fall Migrant  
21  Bonaparte’s Gull      Common winter  Common winter  Common winter
22  Laughing Gull PG    Abundant year   round  Abundant year round  Abundant year round
23  Franklin’s Gull      Western Gulf spring and fall, nearshore  Common to Uncommon Migrant  Western Gulf spring and fall, nearshore
24  Ring-billed Gull      Common winter  Common Migrant + Winter Res  Common winter
25   Herring Gull      Common winter  Common Migrant + Winter Res  Common winter
26  Brown Noddy PG R  Accidental in summer and fall  Casual Summer visitor  Very rare except near Dry Tortugas
27  Sooty Tern PG    Uncommon to rare in summer            Uncom to Rare Summer Vis offshore  Locally common  year round
28  Bridled Tern PG    Uncommon from spring through fall   UC to Rare Summer & Fall visitor  Common April-Oct.; rare Nov.-March
29  Least Tern PG    Common March – Nov. nearshore  Common March-Nov. nearshore  Common March – Nov.  nearshore
30  Gull-billed Tern      Common spring- fall nearshore  Common spring- fall nearshore  Common spring – fall nearshore
310  Black Tern PG    Abundant April – Oct.  UC to Abundant Migrant Offshore  Abundant  April – Oct.
32  Common Tern PG    Com spring and fall: uncom summer  Com Fall & UC Spring Mig  Common spring and fall: uncommon summer
33  Arctic Tern   R  —-  Accidental: fiveTexas records  Very Rare spring
34  Forster’s Tern      Abundant year round nearshore  Abundant year round nearshore  Abundant year round nearshore
35  Royal Tern PG    Abundant year round nearshore  Abundant year round nearshore  Abundant year round nearshore
36  Sandwich Tern PG    Locally abundant nearshore spring-fall  Common Sum Res/ UC Winter Res  Locally abundant nearshore spring-fall
37  South Polar Skua   R  Accidental 1 TX record  Accidental 1 TX record  Accidental 1 TX record
38  Pomarine Jaeger PG    Uncommon in all seasons                  Uncommon Mig + Winter Res  Very com Nov,-Mar.; uncom April-May, Aug.-Oct.
39  Parasitic Jaeger PG    Rare in fall and winter                   Uncommon Mig + Winter Res  PossibLy locally common, status uncertain
40  Long-tailed Jaeger   R  Very rare from spring through fall  Casual Migrant; 17 doc TX records  Rare spring and fall
   Click Species Name – Link to Status, Distribution, Map & Photo Page;    PG = Link to Old Photo Gallery   RV = Texas Review Species
        TEXAS PELAGIC SEABIRDS   (Undocumented on a TEXAS PELAGIC)
   SEABIRDS      TEXAS STATUS (*2)   GULF of MEXICO / OTHER STATUS (*3)
 1  Stejenger’s Petrel N R Accidental: one Texas record   Accidental; one Texas record
 2  White-chinned Petrel N R Accidental: one Texas record   Accidental; one Texas record
 3  Red-footed Booby N R  Accidental: two Texas records  FL: Casual – Very Rare April-Aug near Dry Tortugas
 4  Black Noddy N R Accidental: three Texas records  FL: Rare April-Aug near Dry Tortugas
5  Roseate Tern N R  Accidental: two Texas records  FL: Uncommon April-Sept  Dry Tortugas + Lower Keys
 6    Razorbill N R  Accidental; One record for TX  FL: Accidental, Records from Florida Dec 2012, Nov-April

COLUMNS:

TXP: N = Never Seen on Texas Pelagic trip, Accidental in Texas.

REV: R = Review Species Texas Review Species, requiring written or photographic documentation.

H = Hypothetical in Texas

(*1) Lower Texas Coast Status from Brad McKinney’s annotated checklist (updated 2009)

(*2) Texas Status from TOS Handbook of Texas Birds; by Mark W. Lockwood and Brush Freeman (2005)

(*3) Gulf of Mexico Status from A New Frontier: Pelagic Birding in the Gulf of Mexico by Dwight Peake and Mark Elwonger (ABA Winging It, 1994)

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