The species has four different subspecies, scattered across practically all the world’s continents. The nominal subspecies occupies the Palearctic ecozone, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Chafarinas Islands and central and northern Europe.
It nests in the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca and Cabrera) and the Chafarinas Islands.
In the Balearic Islands, it nests on rocky coastlines with cliffs. It feeds in open sea or in bays, coastal wetlands or reservoirs.
During migration it can be found in continental waters far removed from the sea.
Length 52-60 cm, Wingspan 152-167 cm. Long and narrow wings, short tail. Its lower body is white with a dark brown band across the chest in female and young birds.
In adults, the upper body is a uniform brown colour and a light mottled colour in young birds.
Areas in Mallorca:
Humid regions to the south.
Islets and the coast.