Texas Pelagics"It's Not Just Birding, It's an Adventure"
Seabirds of Texas
Texas Pelagic Seabirds:
This table summarizes the status of 38 Pelagic Seabirds species seen in Texas up to June 2022. The species names with an asterisk (*) are Review Species according to the TBRC (Texas Bird Records Committee). Out of these 38 Pelagic Seabirds seen in Texas all but 11 species have been recorded on a Texas Pelagic trip. It is probably just a matter of time and coverage until these additional 11 species are eventually found on a Texas Pelagic Trip, although a few of them are accidental and exceedingly rare in Texas.
The species names are links to a page for each species that includes: a description of its Texas and Gulf of Mexico status; seasonal occurrence graphs; a google map of the geographic distribution of all the sightings; a range map; and photos of this species in Texas.
(click name to go to species page)
|% TRIPS||HIGH COUNT #||TEXAS PELAGIC STATUS|
|01||Red-necked Phalarope||3%||1||Rare in migration / winter|
|02||* Red Phalarope||1%||1||Very rare in migration, primarily fall|
|03||* South Polar Skua||2%||1||Accidental: Two Texas records.|
|04||Pomarine Jaeger||28%||150||Rare to uncommon in summer, uncommon to fairly common in fall/ winter offshore|
|05||Parasitic Jaeger||12%||8||Very rare in summer, Uncommon in fall/ winter offshore|
|06||* Long-tailed Jaeger||12%||7||Very rare to rare from fall through spring offshore|
|07||* Razorbill||0%||0||Accidental; One Texas sight record presumed.|
|08||Black-legged Kittiwake||0%||0||Very rare winter visitor and casual migrant|
|09||Sabine's Gull||5%||1||Rare in fall / winter|
|10||* Brown Noddy||5%||1||Very rare in summer and fall|
|11||* Black Noddy||0%||0||Accidental: 3 Texas Records|
|12||Sooty Tern||43%||231||Common in early summer to uncommon in early fall|
|13||Bridled Tern||68%||100||Fairly common to common from spring through fall|
|14||* Roseate Tern||0%||0||Accidental. Two Texas documented records, both adults.|
|15||* Arctic Tern||3%||2||Casual to Very rare late spring and fall migrant; Nine Texas records|
|16||* White-tailed Tropicbird||0%||0||Accidental; one Texas record 7/1/2010 found on beach, rehabilitated & released|
|17||* Red-billed Tropicbird||12%||1||Very rare in summer and fall. 13 Texas records|
|18||* Yellow-nosed Albatross||1%||1||Accidental: four Texas records, one live bird.|
|19||* Wilson's Storm-Petrel||0%||0||Accidental; one Texas record 6/11/2015, other unconfirmed reports.|
|20||* Leach's Storm-Petrel||32%||83||Uncommon in late spring - summer, becoming rare by early fall|
|21||Band-rumped Storm-Petrel||57%||88||Common to fairly common in spring through early fall|
|22||* Trindade Petrel||0%||0||Accidental: one Texas record at Port Aransas Jetty; 22 Feb 2022|
|23||* Black-capped Petrel||3%||2||Accidental: two Texas records, three pending records.|
|24||* Stejneger's Petrel||0%||0||Accidental: one Texas record, decomposing carcass on beach|
|25||* White-chinned Petrel||0%||0||Accidental: one Texas record, found floundering in surf|
|26||Cory's Shearwater||65%||102||Rare to fairly common in spring & summer, common in early fall|
|27||Scopoli's (Cory's) Shearwater||?||?||Rare to fairly common in spring & summer, common in early fall|
|28||* Wedge-tailed Shearwater||0%||0||Accidental: one Texas record; Lavaca Bay; 15 Jun 2022|
|29||* Sooty Shearwater||3%||1||Very rare visitor, 16 records, May- Dec|
|30||* Great Shearwater||9%||1||Rare to very rare visitor, 20 records, Jun - Dec.|
|31||* Manx Shearwater||3%||1||Very rare visitor: 8 Texas records Aug - Nov|
|32||Audubon's Shearwater||56%||206||Fairly common to common in summer and fall|
|33||Magnificent Frigatebird||57%||14||Rare to uncommon in spring + fall, fairly common in summer.|
|34||Masked Booby||68%||9||Rare to uncommon in spring + fall, fairly common in summer.|
|0%||0||Accidental: two TX Records|
|36||Brown Booby||9%||3||Uncommon in all seasons. Increasing in numbers.|
|37||* Red-footed Booby||0%||0||Accidental - very rare; 3 documented Texas records, 2 pending records.|
|38||Northern Gannet||4%||3||Uncommon to common migrant and winter resident; very rare in summer|
Texas Nearshore Seabirds:
These seabirds can be found far offshore in pelagic water depths, but are more easily found in the nearshore waters. They are not of particular interest on pelagic birding trips.
(click name to go to species page)
TEXAS PELAGIC STATUS
1 Bonaparte's Gull Uncommon to Common migrant & winter res. Nearshore; Rare offshore
2 Laughing Gull Abundant year round nearshore; Locally common offshore
3 Franklin's Gull Common to Uncommon migrant nearshore; Rare to UC offshore.
4 Ring-billed Gull Common migrant + Com to abundant winter res nearshore; Rare offshore
5 Herring Gull Common migrant + winter res; Rare to Uncommon offshore.
6 Least Tern Common March-Nov. nearshore; Rare to uncommon offshore
7 Black Tern Uncommon to common migrant offshore.
8 Common Tern Common fall & uncommon spring migrant offshore.
9 Forster's Tern Abundant year round nearshore; Rare to uncommon offshore
10 Royal Tern Abundant year round nearshore; Locally common offshore.
11 Sandwich Tern Common sum res/ Uncommon winter res nearshore; Fairly common offshore
Hypothetical Future Seabirds for the Gulf of Mexico or Texas:
This table lists all the seabirds never seen in Texas but that have been found In the Gulf of Mexico or in the Atlantic offshore from the Southeast United States from Florida north to North Carolina. It just might be worthwhile to be aware that these pelagic seabirds could potentially show up someday in the Gulf of Mexico, or if they are already documented in the Gulf of Mexico they could potentially show up in Texas. If you had studied this list last year you might remember that there were two species on this list that have now been elevated to the official Texas Bird List. A Trindade Petrel was seen and photographed from the Port Aransas jetty on 2/22/2022. Likewise a Wedge-tailed Shearwater was seen and photographed in Lavaca Bay on 6-15-2022. You may also remember that the South Polar Skua found on the October 2004 Texas Pelagic was the first documented record for the Gulf of Mexico.
(click name to go to species page)
GOM / SE COAST PELAGIC STATUS
1 Black-browed Albatross NC: Accidental 2 records off N. Carolina
2 Fea's Petrel NC Rare visitor off NC in late May & early June
3 Zino's Petrel NC One record for N Am, I6 Sept 1995 off Cape Hatteras; Possibly casual in Fall on East Coast
4 Bulwer's Petrel NC Accidental off Outer Barks NC July + Aug
5 Cape Verde Shearwater NC: Accidental one record I5 Aug 2004 off Hatteras; MD 1 record? 21 Oct 2006
6 Short-tailed Shearwater FL: Accidental: One Florida Gulf Record
7 Barolo Shearwater 8 Boyd's Shearwater 9 Balearic Shearwater 10 White-faced Storm-Petrel
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