Hutton's Shearwater (Puffinus huttoni)




A medium-sized black and white shearwater with brownish black upperparts. dark head (hooded), dark underwing coverts and brownish chest which contrasts with white belly. Legs and feet pink. Very similar to Fluttering Shearwaterbut readily separable with experience. Hutton's is slightly larger with a flatter, less rounded head. The bill is noticeably longer. Underwing pattern somewhat variable but tends to be darker than in most  Fluttering Shearwaters. Some birds can be very similar to Fluttering in plumage but can still be identified by structure.

Feet project beyond the tail and the wings appear narrow and not particularly long.

Where and When

Endangered. Total population estimated at less than 100,000 pairs. Breeding restricted to two colonies in the Kaikoura Mountains on the South Island of New Zealand. Nesting occurs at an altitude of 1200-800 meters and breeding birds disperse in to nearby coastal waters. Gather in huge numbers off Kaikoura, awaiting the snow to clear from breeding sites. Non-breeders move westwards to the SE coast of Australia including Tasmania and this is a claim from the Coral sea in northern Australia.

Threats include by-catch and disturbance (introduced livestock or late snows) at breeding sites.


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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