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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Puffinus Carneipes. — (Flesh-Footed Shearwater.)

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Puffinus Carneipes.
(Flesh-Footed Shearwater.)

  • Procellaria carneipes*, Gould, P. Z. S. 1844, p. 57.

  • Majaqueus carneipes, Reich. Naturg. Schwimmv., Natatores, pl. xiv. f. 2601; Syst. Av. p. iv (1852).

  • Nectris carneipes, Coues, Pr. Ac. Nat. Sc. Phil. 1864, p. 126.

  • Puffinus carneipes, Salvin, Ibis, 1888, p. 356.

Native name.—Hakoakoa.

Ad. similis P. tristi, sed major et suprà, obscurior: rostro conspicuè majore facilè distinguendus: dorsi plumis scapularibusque brnnnescente marginatis: rostro flavicanti-corneo, brunnescenti-nigro apicato, culmine quoque ad basin brunnescenti-nigro: pedibus sordidè carneis, membranis interdigitalibus pallidè brunneis.

Adult male. Entire plumage uniform sooty or blackish grey, the crown, hind neck, and general upper surface being several shades darker, and the feathers composing the maantle obscurely margined with brown. Irides black; bill yellowish horn-colour, brownish black at the tips of both mandible, and along the culmen to the opening of the nostrils; legs and feet dull flesh-colour, the webs pale brown. Total length 19·75 inches; extent of wings 43; wing, from flexure, 12·75; tail 4·6; bill, along the ridge 2, along the edge of lower mandible 2·25; tarsus 2; middle toe and claw 2·75.

Female. Similar to the male, but with somewhat lighter plumage and of smaller size. Total length 19 inches; extent of wings 42·5; wing, from flexure, 12·5; tail 2·25; bill, along the ridge 1·75, along the edge of lower mandible 2; tarsus 1·9; middle toe and claw 2·75.

Nestling. Covered with thick dark-grey down.

This fine Shearwater is comparatively common off New Zealand, and breeds in large colonies on some of the small islands near the coast.

The above descriptions were taken from a pair obtained by Captain Fairchild on White Island, where they were breeding, and sent to me alive at the beginning of November. When taken out of the box in which they had been confined on board the ‘Hinemoa,’ they were very vicious, attacking everything with their bills, and even snapping savagely at each other when brought within reach. When taken hold of they uttered a cry like that of a young child in pain. At other times they had a peculiar chuckling note; and it was amusing, when travelling with them by train, to hear the passengers remark from the sounds that “there were fowls under the seats.”

Captain Fairchild sent me at the same time the nestling of a Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides nrinatrix) which he assured me had been taken from the same burrow as the pair of Titi.

I dissected the latter, and found the testes in the male bird largely developed; and in the ovary of the female a cluster of embryo eggs, the largest being of the size of buck-shot. It would seem from this that, like some other Petrels, it has two broods in the season.

* Of this species Dr. Finsch writea (Trans. N.-Z. Inst. vol. viii. p. 202):—“Procellaria carneipes, Schleg., in the Leyden Museum, is identical with Procellaria griseus.” But Mr. Salvin regards it as a valid species, and it seems to me very readily distinguishable from the latter bird by its more robust bill.