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Heinroth's Shearwater Puffinus heinrothi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is categorised as Vulnerable on the basis that it is estimated to have a very small population and breeding range. However, there are very few data on this species and on the potentially threatening processes operating at breeding colonies; were more information available this might lead to a category change.

Taxonomic source(s)
Brooke, M. de L. 2004. Albatrosses and Petrels Across the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

27 cm. Small, dark brown, rather fluttering shearwater. Often entirely sooty-brown except narrow, silvery underwing bar. Some have white bellies. Long, slender bill is notable. Similar spp. Plumage similar to Short-tailed Shearwater P. tenuirostris but it has short, stubby wings, weak flight and longer bill. Differs from Audubon's Shearwater P. lherminieri in its browner plumage, dark body and less white on underwing. Voice Silent at sea, unknown on breeding grounds. Hints Frequently seen from inshore boat journeys around the islands of Kolombangara and Bougainville, often in mixed-species fishing flocks.

Distribution and population
Puffinus heinrothi is known from the Bismarck Archipelago and the seas around Bougainville in Papua New Guinea and Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands (Coates 1985, 1990, Buckingham et al. 1995). The few historic specimens are from Watom near New Britain suggesting breeding there, but there have been no recent records from this island and only a few records of up to 20 birds in the Bismarck seas, ranging to Madang on the north coast of New Guinea (Coates 1985, 1990, Bailey 1992, Clay 1994, Hornbuckle 1999a). Two individuals, one recently fledged, caught inland on Bougainville indicate breeding there (Hadden 1981). This is supported by a number of recent observations in the seas around Bougainville, including one flock of 250 birds between Buka and Kieta (Coates 1985, 1990), and a recent sighting of 11 birds off Central Bougainville. It undoubtedly breeds on Kolombangara, where small groups form in the evening offshore before flying inland (P. Scofield in litt. 1994, Buckingham et al. 1995, Gibbs 1996, Onley and Scofield 2007). It presumably also breeds on the nearby island of Rendova where one bird was seen flying out of the mountains at dawn (M. Iles verbally 1998). It is believed to be a relatively sedentary species and its total population may not be above a few hundred. The population trends are unclear; the only suggestion of any decline is the absence of recent records around Watom..

Population justification
The population size is estimated not to be above a few hundred by BirdLife International (2000), based on analyses of recent records and surveys. It is placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals here, equating to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
There are no data; however, there is little reason to suspect a decline.

The only observations of this species ashore, and a comparison with closely-related species, suggest that it breeds in high mountains.

Although it is likely to breed on high, inaccessible mountains, all these islands have introduced rats, cats and dogs. Rats have been seen to at least 900 m on Kolombangara and are a potential threat to this burrow-nesting species (Buckingham et al. 1995), although cats are perhaps a greater threat (G. Dutson in litt. 2007). The logging of accessible areas of its suspected nesting habitats is a potential long-term threat (C. Collins in litt. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess the timing of breeding seasons and best survey techniques at Kolombangara. Survey all mountainous islands within its range at dawn and dusk for breeding birds. Survey numbers at sea off Bougainville. Monitor numbers off Kolombangara. Assess the presence of introduced mammals in suspected breeding grounds. Investigate breeding grounds for dead birds and other evidence of predation. If appropriate, initiate control measures against introduced mammalian predators.

Bailey, S. F. 1992. Seabirds of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, September-November 1989. Emu 92: 223-232.

BirdLife International. 2000. Threatened birds of the world. Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, Barcelona and Cambridge.

Buckingham, D. L.; Dutson, G. C. L.; Newman, J. L. 1995. Birds of Manus, Kolombangara and Makira (San Cristobal) with notes on mammals and records from other Solomon Islands.

Clay, J. 1994. Nakanai '93: an Oxford University Expedition to New Britain Island, Papua New Guinea.

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

Gibbs, D. 1996. Notes on Solomon Island birds. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 116: 18-25.

Hadden, D. 1981. Birds of the North Solomons. Wau Ecology Institute, Wau, Papua New Guinea.

Hornbuckle, J. 1999. Birding in Melanesia: 3 May - July 1999.

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Onley, D.; Scofield, P. 2007. Field guide to the albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Calvert, R., Dutson, G., O'Brien, A., Stattersfield, A., Taylor, J. & Symes, A.

Bourne, W., Brooke, M., Collins, C., Dutson, G., Mahood, S. & Scofield, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Puffinus heinrothi. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Procellariidae (Petrels, Shearwaters)
Species name author Reichenow, 1919
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 419,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species