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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Œstrelata Fuliginosa. — (Sooty Petrel.)

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Œstrelata Fuliginosa.
(Sooty Petrel.)

  • Procellaria fuliginosa, Kuhl, Monogr. Procell. p. 142, pl. x. fig. 6 (1820).

  • Procellaria atlantica, Gould, Ann. N. H. xiii. p. 362 (1844).

  • Procellaria macroptera, Smith, Zool. of South Africa, Aves, pl. lii. (1849)

  • Pterodroma fuliginosa, Bonap. C. R. xlii. p. 768 (1856).

  • Pterodroma atlantica, Bonap. Consp. Av. ii. p. 191 (1857).

  • Æstrelata fuliginosa, Coues, Proc. Phil. Acad. 1866, p. 157.

  • Fulmarus atlanticus, Gray, Hand-1. of B. iii. p. 107 (1871).

  • Procellaria fuliginosa, Buller, Birds of New Zealand, 1st ed. p. 304 (1873).

Ad. omninò-fuliginoso-niger, gutture pallidiore: subtùs brunneo lavatus: rostro et pedibus nigris: iride nigrâ.

Adult. Entire plumage sooty or brownish black, paler on the throat, and tinged with brown on the underparts. Irides, bill, and feet black. Total length 17·5 inches; wing, from flexure, 12·5; tail 5; bill, following the curvature of upper mandible 1·75, length of lower mandible 1·75; tarsus 1·5; middle toe and claw 2·4.

This species, which ranges over both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, inhabits the seas all round New Zealand, but seldom approaches the land. If I was right in my identification of those observed on the wing during a passage from Auckland to Sydney in July 1871, this Petrel is a remarkably powerful flier, coursing about with the activity of a Martin, and generally near the surface; but it is almost impossible to distinguish the various allied species with any certainty by merely observing them from the deck of a ship.

Of this species Mr. Salvin says (Ibis, 1888, p. 360):—“Sir Walter Buller’s collection contains two specimens attributed to P. gouldi, Hutton. They agree with one in the British Museum from the coast of Tasmania, referred by Gould to P. macroptera, Smith. These I have compared with a large series from the South Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Seas, and elsewhere; and though they are rather larger and (especially the New-Zealand specimen) have stronger bills, I do not think the differences sufficiently constant or important to justify the recognition of more than one form of this widely-ranging species. Some stress has been laid upon the greyness of the face of P. gouldi; but this character, too, fails, and a specimen before me with a short wing has the chin white.”