THE most critically endangered seabird in Europe has been spotted off the coast of the Spanish island of Ibiza.

Environmentalists confirmed that at least 10 pairs of the Balearic Shearwater were seen nesting on the islet of Es Vedranell.

According to the Ministry of Environment, the extraordinary finding was made possible thanks to an exhaustive survey of the area where there was a direct observation of adults incubating in burrows.

balearic shearwater
A Balearic Shearwater nesting in a burrow on the islet. Credit Balearic Ministry of the Environment

The Balearic Shearwater, known as Puffinus mauretanicus, is a seabird endemic to the Balearic Islands.

At around 35cm long with a small head and a long grey beak, the animal feeds on fish and squid that it can catch whilst diving into the sea.

Balearic Shearwaters are one of the rarest birds in Europe and one of two species of birds listed as Critically Endangered.

With a low reproduction rate and small population, the seabird has a very high mortality rate from non-natural causes such as being hunted by rats and cats or accidentally being caught in fishing gear.

It comes as a scientist warned that Posidonia in the Balearic Islands is in grave threat of disappearing in the next few decades.

Oceanographer Biel Jorda said a combination of pollution, rising water temperatures, increased fishing activity and an increasing number of boats has put the Mediterranean’s ecosystem in serious danger.

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