The North Atlantic Little Shearwater (Puffinus baroli), also known as the Macaronesian Shearwater, is a small shearwater which breeds in the North Atlantic. The binomial name commemorates the Italian Carlo Barolo.
Two subspecies are recognised:
- P. b. baroli of Madeira and the Canary Islands and
- P. b. boydi of the Cape Verde Islands.
Until recently, it was considered conspecific with the Little Shearwater (Puffinus assimilis) of the Southern Hemisphere. mtDNA cytochrome b sequence analysis (Austin et al., 2004) indicates, however, that baroli and boydi are very close to the nominate subspecies of Audubon’s Shearwater. Whether the morphological distinctness and the non-overlapping ranges, or the genetic similarity are considered to be more significant is presently a matter of opinion, and the taxonomical status of these birds remains equivocal. Although some institutions (such as BirdLife International) currently retain the forms baroli and boydi within Little Shearwater, this is as a result of inaccurate lumping in the past, and is not supported by modern evidence. The BOU has recently accepted P. baroli as a distinct species (Sangster et al. 2005).
Features which distinguish the North Atlantic Little Shearwater from the Manx Shearwater and other North Atlantic Puffinus species include the pale face, silvery panel in the upperwings, shorter more rounded wings, and blue feet (McGeehan and Mullarney 1995, Martin and Rowlands 2001)./
- Austin, Jeremy J.; Bretagnolle, Vincent and Pasquet, Eric (2004): A global molecular phylogeny of the small Puffinus shearwaters and implications for systematics of the Little-Audubon’s Shearwater complex. Auk (journal) 121(3): 847–864. doi: 10.1642/0004-8038(2004)121[0847:AGMPOT]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract
- Collinson, M. (2006): Splitting headaches? Recent taxonomic changes affecting the British and Western Palaearctic lists. British Birds 99(6): 306-323.
- Rheindt, F. E. and Austin, Jeremy J. (2005): Major analytical and conceptual shortcomings in a recent taxonomic revision of the Procellariiformes – A reply to Penhallurick and Wink (2004). Emu (journal) 105(2): 181-186 PDF fulltext
- GEORGE SANGSTER, J. MARTIN COLLINSON, ANDREAS J. HELBIG, ALAN G. KNOX, DAVID T. PARKIN (2005) Taxonomic recommendations for British birds: third report Ibis 147 (4), 821–826. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2005.00483.x
- McGeehan, Anthony and Killian Mullarney (1995) A little help Birdwatch 39:38-42
- Martin, John and Adam Rowlands (2001) Small Wonders Birdwatch 114:22-25
- BTO BirdFacts – Macaronesian Shearwater
- Madeira Birds: Macaronesian Shearwater
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