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.
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.
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.
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.
Streaked shearwaters usually only dive to about 3 m depth. They feed mainly on fish and squid.
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- Breeding season
- Egg laying dates