Shearwater ID help

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erikforsyth
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Joined: Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:16 pm

Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby erikforsyth » Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:30 am

Hi all

here are some more pics of shearwater puzzle. Did get feedback from Steve Howell and Paul Walbridge whose thoughts are light Wedge-tailed Shearwater.


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Best wishes
Erik Forsyth
Rockjumper Birding Tours
www.rockjumperbirding.com
Colin Miskelly
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Colin Miskelly » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:06 pm

Hi Erik

That beak looks too robust, too pink on the latericorn, and with the maxillary unguis too large for a wedge-tailed shearwater to my eye.

I'm still voting for carneipes x bulleri

Cheers
Colin
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sav
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby sav » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:04 pm

So I spoke too soon that we all agree it isnt a Wedge-tail!!

I respect the ability of both Steve Howell and Paul Walbridge, but cannot agree. The bill is not fine enough, but I dont think the tail is wedge-shaped in the photo where it is fanned, and in the last pics from Erik it is way too broad at the tip - every Wedge-tail that I have seen has a really long pointed tail at rest (and normally in flight as well).

I'm coming round to thinking that Colin might have the best solution.......
Sav Saville
Wrybill Birding Tours, NZ
Great Birds, Real Birders
Ian Southey
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Ian Southey » Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:10 pm

Tim, sorry I missed your pass - was on a plane.

I'm going to put my 2 cents squarely in Colin's corner. Seeing the pictures of the bird on the water I think the toning of the back is very Buller's like and and the bill definitely approaches them in shape. Clearly slimmer than the Flesh-foots in the pictures with it.

Probably not a colour variant because bill and foot colour is affected along with feather colour (all integument) so a pale bill and darker plumage don't make sense to me.

I go with the hybrid Buller's X Flesh-footed Shearwater. Not the first time a Buller's hybrid will have been found either - if I remember correctly there is a funny skin in Te Papa that gave rise to some confusion some few years ago.

Ian
Tim Barnard
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Tim Barnard » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:29 pm

Me too, I'm slowly drifting to the same conclusion ... and thanks Erik ... a nice challenge.
Alan Tennyson
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Alan Tennyson » Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:44 pm

Te Papa has a study skin considered to be a sooty x Buller's hybrid.
Graeme T
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Graeme T » Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:32 pm

Hi all
Igor and I looked at this bird discussion over lunch-time today. Its a another curious shearwater no doubt. I would be 100% confident of eliminating Buller's shearwaters. I have handled literally hundreds of them and all have black-grey bills. None had pale cream or pink bills with dark tips. Hard part colours are fairly fixed on seabird species so I would not be convinced it was a Buller's even if every other feature matched which it clearly doesn't. Buller's have really long tails and are totally white underneath. This one doesn't start to get a long enough tail relative to the wings when folded. Pink-footed I have seen a few off North America but looking at photos online they are bulky birds with solid necks and typically robust bills like fleshy-foots. This bird has a slender bill with a large hook and a small head and slender neck. Compared with the fleshies in the images its both a smaller bird and more slender. Fleshies weigh 600-800g, and Pink-footed shearwaters weigh 900g. This is a smaller bird. My best guess is its a wedge-tailed shearwater. The intermediate morph birds occur in the Great Barrier Reef colonies. They have this type of plumage and most importantly they have small heads and lighter frames being a shallow diving species. The bill colour is also variable in this species with some having pinker bills while others have dark bills. The wedge-shaped tail is a feature dependent on flight posture. Buller's shearwaters call like sooty shearwaters. Flesh-foots call like cats fighting. They are not known to co-exist anywhere. I would prefer to put my money on it being a stray wedgie rather than an extremely rare hybrid.
Cheers Graeme
Steve Wood
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Steve Wood » Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:24 pm

Attached a couple of images of pale phase Wedge-tails taken off Hawaii.

I must admit I never seriously considered this as an option at the start due to the tail looking far too short in the picture.

I never liked the Buller's option, and have gone off the Pink footed " type". I think this has to be a more plausible option to consider.

Steve
Wedge-Tailed Shearwater pale phase Hawaii April 2013.c.jpg
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Wedge Tailed Shearwater Pale Phase Hawaii April 2013.jpg
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erikforsyth
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby erikforsyth » Tue Nov 14, 2017 8:54 am

Hi all

many thanks for everyone's feedback and huge effort in trying to id this bird. Much appreciated.

Best wishes
Erik Forsyth
Rockjumper Birding Tours
www.rockjumperbirding.com
Ian Southey
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Re: Shearwater ID help

Postby Ian Southey » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:04 am

Sorry Graeme, I'm afraid I can't go with Wedge-tailed Shearwater and Steve's pictures just firm up my stance.

The bill in Erik's birds is too heavy, especially the hook at the tip. This is a Buller's Shearwater feature.
The pattern on the back is wrong for a Wedge-tailed Shearwater - they have lots of dark feathers with pale tips but this bird has a paler, smoothly coloured back until you get near the wings - this is a Buller's Shearwater pattern.
The feet seem to have quite a lot of dark areas around the toes, all of them I think, but Wedge- tailed Shearwaters apparently have largely pink feet but Buller's are definitely bicoloured.
The underwing in Steve's pictures and the pale bird on nzbirdsonline has a tidier underwing pattern than this bird.

As already stated, I do not actually back Buller's Shearwater as the identity but a Buller's x Flesh-footed Shearwater hybrid as I think this bird is a blend of the two favouring Buller's in many characteristics with the anomalies being Flesh-footed features (e.g. bill colour) or blends of the two.

Ian

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