Buller's Shearwater  |  

Ardenna bulleri

Migrating bird in Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary offshore California, United States; note upperwing pattern. Adults birds are 46–47 cm (18–19 in) in length, with a 97–99 cm (38–39 in) wingspan, and have been recorded to weigh 342–425 g (12.1–15.0 oz). The upperside of Buller’s shearwater is bluish grey. A blackish stripe runs from the tertiary remiges to the primary wing coverts. The primary remiges are blackish, also; the two black areas do not meet at the hand, however; the area between them is a rather light grey, and under bright light may appear almost white. With the bird facing upwards, the pattern gives the impression of a broken black “M”, with light grey interspersing areas. The underside is bright white; on the head the upperside’s grey extends town to eye height and the white cheeks may shine up conspicuously, as in the smaller shearwaters of Puffinus sensu stricto. The rectrices are blackish and the tail is wedge-shaped; the bill and irises are dark. Fledged juveniles already have the adult’s colouration; the nestlings are covered in grey down feathers. Compared to other shearwaters, the species is unusually easy to identify at sea by its combination of considerable size and the distinctive, M-shaped banding pattern on its upperside while flying, uniquely among its genus and more akin to some gadfly petrels (Pterodroma), the prions (Pachyptila) and their relative, the blue petrel (Halobaena caerulea). These are all much smaller birds, perhaps two-thirds in length and wingspan and less than half in bulk of Buller’s shearwater.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • IUCN Red List Assessment, Ardenna bulleri

    In addition; climate change is anticipated to have a significant effect on this species due to its limited range (the population is restricted to an islands with a maximum altitude of 218 m BirdLife International unpubl. data ); and its observed sensitivity to climatic fluctuations and apparent lower productivity during La Niña years.