Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Puffinus Chlororhynchus. — (Wedge-Tailed Shearwater.)

page break

Puffinus Chlororhynchus.
(Wedge-Tailed Shearwater.)

  • Puffinus chlororhynchos, Less. Traité d’Orn. p. 612 (1831).

  • Puffinus sphenurus, Gould, Ann. & Mag. N. H. xiii. p. 365 (1844).

  • Thiellus chlororhyncha, Bonap. Consp. Av. ii. p. 201 (1850).

  • Thiellus sphenurus, Bonap. ibid.

  • Procellaria chlororhyncha, Schl. Mus. Pays-Bas, vi. Procell. p. 25 (1863).

  • Procellaria sphenura, Schl. ibid.

  • Puffinus chlororhynchus, Salvin, Ibis, 1888, p. 352.

Ad. omninò schistaceo-fuliginosus, interscapulio scapularibusque ad apicem pallidioribus: gulâ et jugulo anteriore schistaceis: abdomine crissoque et supracaudalibus saturatè brunneo tinctis: rostro grisescenti-nigro, apice et culmine obscurioribus: pedibus flavescenti-brunneis.

Adult. General plumage dark slaty brown, changing to dark slaty grey on the throat and fore neck; the feathers composing the mantle edged with grey; flanks, upper portion of abdomen, with upper and lower tail-coverts more strongly tinged with brown; quills and tail-feathers slaty black with polished shafts; lining of wings uniform slaty grey. Irides black; bill greyish black; legs and feet yellowish brown. Total length 17 inches; wing 10·25; tail 6; bill, along the ridge 1·8, along the edge of lower mandible 1·9; tarsus 1·7; middle toe and claw 2·3.

Obs. In the female the general plumage is more suffused with brown.

Note. Mr. Salvin’s collection contains a New-Zealand example. There is a specimen from Lord Howe’s Island in the British Museum, and another from the Seychelles, received from Canon Tristram.

Mr. Salvin writes (Ibis, 1888, p. 352):—“Lesson’s type of his P. chlororhynchus in the Paris Museum was brought from Australia (Baie des Chiens Marins), so Pucheran tells us, by Quoy and Gaimard in 1820. Those writers who have attempted to separate it from P. sphenurus of Gould attribute to it a more western range, extending from Western Australia to the Mascarene Islands and the Cape of Good Hope, and reserve the name of P. sphenurus for the more eastern bird, giving its range ‘Australian Seas.’ Gould’s types of P. sphenurus, however, came from Houtmann’s Abrolhos, off the coast of W. Australia, so that the difference of habitat breaks down. I have compared specimens from the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius and Rodriguez), Raine’s Islet (N.W. Australia), Bird Islet (N. Australia), Norfolk I., Lord Howe’s I., Eimeo (Society I.), and New Zealand, and fail to see how any separation can be maintained., The Mascarene birds have perhaps a rather stouter bill, the colour of which in the skin is more of a fleshy yellow; but these differences seem to me to be of little importance, as intermediate specimens occur. The slight difference in size is not more than occurs in most birds having so wide a range. Gould’s figure represents a bird with a dark bill, but his description gives it as ‘reddish fleshy-brown, darker on the culmen and tip.’ We have two skins said to have come from New Zealand, where its occurrence, at least on the shores of the North Island, can hardly fail to be established.”

A specimen of the egg in my son’s collection, from Lord Howe’s Island, is rather ovoido-elliptical in form, measuring 2·5 inches in length by 1·5 in breadth, and is perfectly white.