Heinroth’s Shearwaters

Heinroth’s Shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi) is a poorly known seabird that is probably a close relative of the Little Shearwater or Audubon’s Shearwater (with which it is sometimes considered conspecific / one species), it is distinguished by a long and slender bill and a brown-washed underside.

Distribution

The Heinroth’s Shearwater is restricted to the seas around the Bismarck Archipelago and northern Solomon Islands. It is frequently seen from inshore boat journeys around the islands of Kolombangara (Papua New Guinea) and Bougainville (Solomon Islands). Although their breeding sites have never been found, individuals (including recently fledged chicks) have been reported on Bougainville and Kolombangara, which suggests that they may be breeding there, possibly high in the mountains.

This species usually occur in mixed-species fishing flocks.

Description

This small shearwater averages 27 cm in length. Its plumage is dark brown – often entirely sooty-brown except a narrow, silvery underwing bar. Some have white bellies. They have a long, slender bill.

Similar Species:

  • Their plumage is similar to that of the Short-tailed Shearwater (P. tenuirostris) but it has short, stubby wings, weak flight and longer bill.
  • It has a browner plumage than the Audubon’s Shearwater (P. lherminieri) and less white on the underwings.

Status

There is very little information about the species and it is uncertain if it is threatened or in decline.

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