Fluttering Shearwater (Puffinus gavia)



Also known as Brown-beaked Petrel, Brown-beaked Shearwater, Forster's Petrel or Forster's Shearwater


Similar to Hutton's Shearwater and certain subspecies of Little Shearwater. Underiwng pattern variable, although generally more extensive pale areas than very similar Hutton's Shearwater. Undertail coverts white and legs and feet pink.

Flight style fairly typical of the smaller shearwaters with bursts of rapid wing beats followed by short glides. 

Where and When

Endemic to New Zealand. Breeds on islands off the North Island of New Zealand and in the Cook Strait and adjacent Malborough Sound. The world population was estimated at 100,000 pairs in the 1980s.

Non-breeders disperse to southern and eastern coasts of Australia (as far north as New Caledonia) as well as waters around Tasmania. Often gregarious at sea, either with its own kind or other seabirds. Has occured at Vanuatu.

Photographs on the web

Taking flight showing underwing and vent Photo by Tony Palliser, taken off Wollongong in October.

Another more distant bird taking flight showing underwing and vent Photo by Tony Palliser, taken off Sydney in January.


Shirihai, H. and Jarrett, B. (2002) A complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife: the birds and marine mammals of the Antarctic Continent and Southern Ocean. Alula Press, Degerby, Finland.

Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson
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