They are large shearwaters, found in the temperate and cold waters of the southern oceans. They are pelagic outside the breeding season. These tubenose birds fly with stiff wings, and use a “shearing” flight technique to move across wave fronts with the minimum of active flight.
They visit their nesting islands and coastal cliffs only to breed. They nest in burrows and lay a single white egg.
The Procellaria shearwaters feed on fish, squid and similar oceanic food. Some will follow fishing boats to take scraps.
In addition, there is one undescribed prehistoric species known from fossils.