Streaked shearwater

Calonectris leucomelas (Temminck, 1836)

New Zealand status: Native

Conservation status: Vagrant

Geographical variation: Nil

Streaked shearwater. Adult in flight. Wollongong pelagic, New South Wales, Australia, February 2009. Image © Tobias Hayashi by Tobias Hayashi via Flickr, 

Streaked shearwater. Adult in flight. Wollongong pelagic, New South Wales, Australia, February 2009. Image © Tobias Hayashi by Tobias Hayashi via Flickr, 

The streaked shearwater is a large, pale-faced shearwater that breeds in Asia and migrates to the waters between Papua New Guinea and Australia. Although they are regularly seen off the east coast of Australia, no live birds have been seen in New Zealand, where the sole record is a beach-wrecked bird found on Kawhia Beach in February 2006.

Identification

The streaked shearwater is a large, long-tailed shearwater, mottled pale brown above with a white face and underparts. The underwings are mainly white, with dark flight feathers and some dusky marking on the outerwing and behind the leading edge. The bill is long and slender, pale grey-horn with a dark tip. No other large shearwater is pale above the eye.

Similar species: Cory’s shearwater, a vagrant to New Zealand from the Atlantic [1 record], has a yellow bill, more uniformly coloured upperparts, dark head and whiter under-wings. Pink-footed shearwater, a vagrant from South America, has a dark head, and a pinkish bill with a dark tip.

Distribution and habitat

Streaked shearwaters breed on islands off the southern Russian Far East, and Japan, east China, Korea and Taiwan. In the non-breeding season they migrate to waters off New Guinea and northern Australia and the South China Sea.

Population

The global population of streaked shearwaters is estimated to be about 3,000,000 birds.

New Zealand records

The sole New Zealand record was a dead bird found in February 2006 at Kawhia Beach, Waikato.

Threats and conservation   

The streaked shearwater population is thought to be declining gradually. Introduced rats are known to be affecting some colonies in Japan and South Korea. Fisheries by-catch may be a problem and some chicks are still taken for food, although adults are considered to be unpalatable.

Breeding

The streaked shearwater is a colonial breeder that lays a single egg in a burrow. Colonies are usually in a well forested area, where tree regeneration may be adversely impacted by the birds.

Behaviour and ecology

In tropical, non-breeding areas streaked shearwaters are more active during the day than at night.  They feed principally on prey driven to the surface by subsurface predators such as tuna.

Food

Streaked shearwaters usually only dive to about 3 m depth. They feed mainly on fish and squid.

Weblinks  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streaked_Shearwater

http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=3927

http://www.seabirdtracking.org/

References

BirdLife International.  2012. Species factsheet: Calonectris leucomelas. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/07/2012.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (eds). 1992. Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 1, ostrich to ducks. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona.

Maesako, Y. 1999. Impacts of streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas) on tree seedling regeneration in a warm-temperate evergreen forest on Kanmurijima Island, Japan. Plant Ecology 145: 183-190.

Marchant, S.; Higgins, P.J. (eds). 1991. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand & Antarctic birds. Vol. 1, ratites to ducks. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Onley, D.; Scofield, P. 2007. Albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

Scofield, R.P.; Christie, D.; Palma, R.L.; Tennyson, A.J.D. 2010. First record of streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas) in New Zealand. Notornis 57: 212-215.

Takahashi, A.; Ochi, D.; Watanuki, Y.; Deguchi, T.; Oka, N.; Afanasyev, V.; Fox, J.W.; Trathan, P.N. 2008. Post-breeding movement and activities of two streaked shearwaters in the north-western Pacific. Ornithological Science 7: 29-35. Downloadable at: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/osj/7/1/7_1_29/_pdf

Warham, J. 1996.The behaviour, population biology and physiology of the petrels. Academic Press, London.

Yamamoto, T.; Takahashi, A.; Katsumata, N.; Sato, K.; Trathan, P.N. 2010. At-sea distribution and behaviour of streaked shearwaters (Calonectris leucomelas) during the non-breeding period. Auk 127: 871-881.

Recommended citation

Melville, D.S. 2013. Streaked shearwater. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Streaked shearwater

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