Heinroth's Shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi)


Monotypic. Formerly considered a subspecies of Audubon's Shearwater. Type specimen collected in Blanche Bay, New Britain in 1919.


A extremely poorly known dark small shearwater of the tropical western Pacific. Smaller than Sooty or Short-tailed Shearwaters. Noticably long and slender bill. Iris brown or blue. Head, neck and upper-breast sooty-brown, paler on chin and upperthroat. Upperparts and tail uniform sooty-brown. Underparts more variable. Underwing partly whitish recalling Audubon's Shearwater. Juvenile similar to adult.

May be the first at-sea photo of this species! Taken in the Bismarck Archipelago, August 2003. Photo copyright of Hadoram Shirihai. [Please do not reproduce without prior permission.]

Where and When

Classified as ENDANGERED. Breeding grounds not known with certainty, but most likely to be Bougainville. Historical records from seas near Rabaul in the New Britain Group. More recently seen in seas around Bougainville and in the Bismark Sea (between Buka and Kieta). In 1979 a fledged immature was found on Arawa, Bougainville and then in 1980, an adult was found in the Crown Prince Range on Bougainville. There are additional observations from Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands, and it is possible the species breeds in the island's mountains.

Photographs on the web

See above. Many thanks to Hadoram Shirihai for generously sharing his superb images.

Published Photographs

Enticott and Tipling (1997) page 91.


Page layout copyright Angus Wilson © 2003 and photograph copyright Hadoram Shirihai © 2003, all rights reserved.
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