Until recently the shearwaters were devided in two genera Calonectris and Puffinus, but based on dna-analysis Penhallurick and Wink (2004) have proposed a splitting of the shearwaters into three genera: Calonectris for the large shearwaters of the Northern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the waters around Japan, Ardenna for a group of large Southern Hemisphere breeders and Puffinus for the smaller shearwaters such as the Manx’ group, Audubon’s and Little Shearwaters. This new taxonomy is now widely accepted, but not by all and is stil subject of discussion.
The species is quiet at sea, however, a wide variety of calls may be heard at breeding colonies. Whilst in courtship, the species vocalises in a throaty, asthmatic sound. Unlike other shearwaters, Little Shearwater seems to be largely confined to the waters close to the breeding islands and visits the nesting sites outside the breeding period.
Listen to the sound of Little Shearwater
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
recorded by Niklas Holmstrom
Both parents feed the chick by incomplete regurgitation for a nestling period of 70 to 75 days The eggs, one per pair of birds, are laid no later than February and the juveniles leave their nests in May/June, when these are then occupied by Bulwer’s Petrels or Cory’s Shearwaters.
Video Little Shearwater
copyright: P. Fraser
Bulweria bulwerii breeds in the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands, which
together account for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European
breeding population is small (as few as 7,000 pairs), and underwent a moderate decline
between 1970-1990. Although the trend in the Canary Islands during 1990-2000
was unknown, the species remained stable in its stronghold in Madeira, and was
stable overall. Nevertheless, its population size renders it susceptible to the risks
affecting small populations.
This pelagic bird inhabits the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, being much more numerous in the Southern Hemisphere. The European population inhabits the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira. It amounts about 2700-3900 breeding pairs. This species is adversely affected by the introduction of rats on its breeding islands, and the population of the Canary Islands has strongly decreased during the last 20 years.
Oceanodroma leucorhoa breeds on remote islands in north-western Europe, which
accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Its European breeding
population is large (>120,000 pairs), and was stable between 1970-1990. Although
trends were not available for key populations in Iceland and the United Kingdom
during 1990-2000, there was no evidence to suggest that the species declined.
Nevertheless, more than 90% of the European breeding population occurs at 10 sites