The short-tailed shearwater or slender-billed shearwater called yolla or moonbird, known as the muttonbird in Australia, is the most abundant seabird species in Australian waters, is one of the few Australian native birds in which the chicks are commercially harvested. It is a migratory species that breeds on small islands in Bass Strait and Tasmania and migrates to the Northern Hemisphere for the boreal summer; this species appears to be related to the sooty shearwater and the great shearwater, which are blunt-tailed, black-billed species, but its precise relationships are obscure. These are among the larger species of shearwater, which have been moved to a separate genus, Ardenna based on a phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA; each parent feeds the single chick for 2–3 days and leaves for up to three weeks in search of food. These foraging trips can cover a distance of 1,500 km and mean the chick may be left unattended for over a week; when the chicks fledge they weigh around 900 g, may be heavier than their parents.
In Tasmania, on the muttonbird islands of the Furneaux Group, the chicks are harvested at this time for food and oil. The largest population in the world seems to be located on Babel Island. Adult birds foraging for food on the open ocean mistake plastic debris for food and feed it to their chicks; this ingested plastic, as well as other factors contribute to contamination of chicks. Thousands of Short-tailed shearwater fledglings are attracted to artificial lights during their maiden flights from nests to the open ocean. Fledglings are vulnerable to injury or death by collisions with human infrastructure and once grounded, to predation or becoming road casualties; each austral winter, the shearwaters migrate to the seas off the Aleutian Islands and Kamchatka. In the austral spring, they travel down the coast of California before crossing the Pacific back to Australia; the name "muttonbird" was first used by the early settlers on Norfolk Island, who each year harvested adult Providence petrels for food.
The petrels were larger than the short-tailed shearwater. An officer in the Royal Marines called them "the flying sheep". Tasmanian Aborigines have harvested muttonbirds and their eggs for many generations, a number of families continue this important cultural practice; the muttonbird is one of the few Australian native birds, commercially harvested. During the muttonbird season, chicks are taken for their feathers and oil; the industry was established by their Aboriginal families. The recreational harvesting of short-tailed shearwaters is limited to the open season, declared each year. A muttonbird licence must be obtained. Austin, Jeremy J.: Molecular Phylogenetics of Puffinus Shearwaters: Preliminary Evidence from Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Gene Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 6: 77–88. Doi:10.1006/mpev.1996.0060 Austin, Jeremy J.. "A global molecular phylogeny of the small Puffinus shearwaters and implications for systematics of the Little-Audubon's Shearwater complex". Auk. 121: 847–864.
Doi:10.1642/0004-80381212.0. CO. Penhallurick, John. "Analysis of the taxonomy and nomenclature of the Procellariformes based on complete nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene". Emu. 104: 125–147. Doi:10.1071/MU01060. Gillson, Greg Field separation of Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters off the west coast of North America Birding 40:34-40 Short-tailed Shearwater Photos Parks & Wildlife Service Tasmania: Birds of Tasmania: Short-Tailed Shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris Port Fairy website: Griffiths Island Shearwater Colony Annotated List of the Seabirds of the World - Shearwaters
The sooty shearwater is a medium-large shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae. Ardenna was first used to refer to a seabird by Italian naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi in 1603, grisea is medieval Latin for "grey". In New Zealand, it is known by its Māori name tītī and as muttonbird, like its relatives the wedge-tailed shearwater and the Australian short-tailed shearwater, it appears to be closely related to the great shearwater and the short-tailed shearwater, all blunt-tailed, black-billed species, but its precise relationships are obscure. In any case, these three species are among the larger species of shearwaters that have been moved into a separate genus Ardenna based on a phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA. Sooty shearwaters are 40–51 cm in length with a 94– to 110-cm wingspan, it has the typical "shearing" flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wing beats, the wingtips touching the water. Its flight is powerful and direct, with wings held stiff and straight, giving the impression of a small albatross.
This shearwater is identifiable by its dark plumage, responsible for its name. In poor viewing conditions, it looks all black, but in good light, it shows as dark chocolate-brown with a silvery strip along the center of the underwing. Loud, sooty shearwaters coo and croak while on the breeding grounds. In the Atlantic, it is the only such bird, whereas in the Pacific part of its range, other all-dark large shearwaters are found; the short-tailed shearwater in particular is impossible to tell apart from the present species at a distance. Sooty shearwaters breed on small islands in the south Pacific and south Atlantic Oceans around New Zealand, the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego, in the Auckland Islands and Phillip Island off Norfolk Island, they start breeding in October, incubate their young for about 54 days. Once the chick hatches, the parents raise their chick for 86 to 109 days, they are spectacular long-distance migrants, following a circular route, traveling north up the western side of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans at the end of the nesting season in March–May, reaching subarctic waters in June–July, where they cross from west to east return south down the eastern side of the oceans in September–October, reaching to the breeding colonies in November.
They do not migrate as a flock, but rather as individuals. The identity of numerous large, dark shearwaters observed in October 2004 off Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands remain enigmatic. In the Atlantic Ocean, they cover distances in excess of 14,000 km from their breeding colony on the Falkland Islands north to 60 to 70°N in the North Atlantic Ocean off north Norway. Recent tagging experiments have shown that birds breeding in New Zealand may travel 74,000 km in a year, reaching Japan and California, averaging more than 500 km per day. In Great Britain, they move south in late September; the sooty shearwater squid. They can dive up to 68 m deep for food, but more take surface food, in particular following whales to catch fish disturbed by them, they follow fishing boats to take fish scraps thrown overboard. They breed in huge colonies and the female lays one white egg; these shearwaters nest in burrows lined with plant material, which are visited only at night to avoid predation by large gulls.
In New Zealand, about 250,000 muttonbirds are harvested for oils and food each year by the native Māori. Young birds just about to fledge are collected from the burrows and preserved in salt, its numbers have been declining in recent decades, it is presently classified as near threatened by the IUCN. In 2009, the harvest reported record-low catches, on average a trapping cage yielded nearly 500 birds. On August 18, 1961, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported that thousands of crazed sooty shearwaters were sighted on the shores of North Monterey Bay in California, regurgitating anchovies, flying into objects, dying on the streets; the incident sparked the interest of local resident Alfred Hitchcock, along with a story about spooky bird behavior by British writer Daphne du Maurier, helping to inspire Hitchcock's 1963 thriller The Birds, a cautionary tale of nature revolting against man. The film is now ranked among the American Film Institute's top-10 thrillers of the last century. Scientists looking at the stomach contents of turtles and seabirds gathered in 1961 Monterey Bay ship surveys have found toxin-making algae were present in 79% of the plankton the creatures ate.
"I am pretty convinced that the birds were poisoned," says ocean environmentalist Sibel Bargu of Louisiana State University. "All the symptoms were similar to bird poisoning events in the same area." Plankton expert Raphael Kudela of USC points to l
The Mutton Birds (album)
The Mutton Birds is the first album by the New Zealand band The Mutton Birds. Released in 1992, it remained on the New Zealand album charts for more than a year and was named Best Album at the 1993 New Zealand Music Awards, it was among the records selected by the author Nick Bollinger for his 2009 book, 100 Essential New Zealand albums. A single, a version of "Nature", the 1968 song by the Fourmyula, reached No.4 on the New Zealand singles chart. Three other singles from the album entered the charts in New Zealand: "Dominion Road", "Giant Friend" and "Your Window". "Dominion Road" – 3.55 "Your Window" – 4.39 "She's Like a City" – 3.56 "No Plans for Later" – 2.31 "Before the Breakthrough" – 4.32 "White Valiant" – 5.12 "Giant Friend" – 3.15 "Big Fish" – 4.33 "A Thing Well Made" – 4.39 "Nature" – 3.39 Don McGlashan – guitars, euphonium Ross Burge – drums Alan Gregg – bass guitar, voice David Long – guitars Jan Hellriegel - backing vocals on "Nature"
The wedge-tailed shearwater is a medium-large shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae. It is one of the shearwater species, sometimes referred to as a muttonbird, like the sooty shearwater of New Zealand and the short-tailed shearwater of Australia, it ranges throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans between latitudes 35°N and 35°S. It breeds on islands off Japan, on the Islas Revillagigedo, the Hawaiian Islands, the Seychelles, the Northern Mariana Islands, off Eastern and Western Australia; the wedge-tailed shearwater is the largest of the tropical shearwaters. The two colour morphs of the species are pale. However, both morphs exist in all populations, bear no relation to sex or breeding condition; the pale morph has grey-brown plumage on the back and upper wing, whiter plumage below. The darker morph has the same dark grey-brown plumage over the whole body; the species' common name is derived from the large, wedge-shaped tail, which may help the species glide. The bill is dark and legs are salmon pink, with the legs set far back on the body as an adaptation for swimming.
This species is related to the pan-Pacific Buller's shearwater, which differs much in colour pattern, but has a wedge tail and a thin, black bill. They make up the Thyellodroma group, a superspecies of the large shearwaters that were for a long time included in the genus Puffinus. Wedge-tailed shearwaters feed pelagically on fish and crustaceans, their diet is 66% fish, of which the most taken is goatfish. The species was thought to take food from surface feeding, but observations of feeding wedge-tails suggested that contact-dipping, where birds flying close to the surface snatch prey from the water was the most used hunting technique. However, a 2001 study which deployed maximum depth recorders found that 83% of wedge-tails dived during foraging trips with a mean maximum depth of 14 m and that they could achieve a depth of 66 m; the wedge-tailed shearwater breeds in colonies on small tropical islands. Breeding seasons vary depending on location, with synchronised breeding seasons more common at higher latitudes.
Northern Hemisphere birds begin breeding around February, Southern Hemisphere birds begin around September. Wedge-tailed shearwaters display natal philopatry, returning to their natal colony to begin breeding at the age of four. Wedge-tailed shearwaters are monogamous. Divorce between pairs occurs after breeding seasons that end in failure. Nesting occurs either sometimes on the surface under cover. Pairs call as a pair, both to reinforce the pair bond and warn intruders away from their territory. Parents call to their chicks; the call is long, with exhaling component. Both sexes participate in repairing the burrow from last year. Nesting burrows of other species are used; the breeding season of the Bonin petrel in Hawaii is timed to avoid that of the wedge-tail. It attends these colonies nocturnally, although nonbreeding wedge-tails are seen at the surface throughout the day and breeding birds rest outside their burrows before laying. Both sexes undertake a prelaying exodus to build up energy reserves.
A single egg is laid, if that egg is lost the pair will not attempt another that season. After laying, the male undertakes the first incubation stint. Both sexes incubate the egg, in stints. Incubation takes around 50 days. After hatching, the chick is brooded for up to 6 days, until it is able to thermoregulate, after which it is left alone in the nest while both parents hunt for food, it is fed with stomach oil, an energy-rich, waxy oil of digested prey created in the parent's gut. Like many procellariids, wedge-tailed shearwater parents alternate long and short trips to provide food, with the parents alternating between short foraging trips and long trips, the two parents coordinating their feeding effort. Chicks increase in size to 560 g drop to around 430 g before fledging. Fledging occurs after 103 -- 115 days. Known breeding colonies include: Pacific Missile Range Facility, Hawaii Heron Island, Australia Lady Elliot Island, Australia Lord Howe Island, Australia Montague Island, Southern New South Wales, Australia North West Island, Australia Muttonbird Island, Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia Mānana Island, United States Ilot Maitre, New Caledonia Round Island, Mauritius Ka'ena Point, Hawaii Mañagaha, Saipan, CNMI San Benedicto Island, Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico Alphonse Island, Republic of Seychelles Bijoutier Island, Republic of Seychelles Congdon, BC.
"Dual-foraging and co-ordinated provisioning in a tropical Procellariiform, the wedge-tailed shearwater". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 301: 293–301. Doi:10.3354/meps301293. BirdLife species factsheet California Bird Records Committee: Rare bird photos - wedge-tailed shearwater USFWS, Midway Atoll NWR: Wedge-tailed shearwater Frank O'Connor's Birding Western Australia: Some more photos of the wedge-tailed shearwater
The flesh-footed shearwater is a medium-sized shearwater. Its plumage is black, it has pale pinkish feet, a pale bill with a distinct black tip. Together with the light-billed pink-footed shearwater, it forms the Hemipuffinus group, a superspecies which may or may not have an Atlantic relative in the great shearwater; these large shearwaters are among those. It breeds in colonies, has two main breeding areas. Another 500 pairs breed on St Paul Island in the Indian Ocean. A record of birds on Astola Island of Pakistan in the Arabian Sea is unconfirmed. Recent evidence suggests; the species was listed as near threatened in Australia and nationally vulnerable in New Zealand, has been recommended for listing under the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. At the state level, the species is listed as vulnerable in Western Australia and New South Wales and rare in South Australia; the species occurs as a summer visitor in the North Pacific Ocean, where large numbers are taken as bycatch in fisheries.
The species suffers from climate related impacts and significant heavy metal contamination, the cause of, not understood, but is due to the ingestion of significant quantities of plastic, which the birds mistake for food floating on the ocean surface
Mutton Bird Island
Mutton Bird Island is an irregularly shaped unpopulated island located close to the south-western coast of Tasmania, Australia. Situated some 2 kilometres south of where the mouth of Port Davey meets the Southern Ocean, the 44-hectare is the largest of the eight islands that comprise the Mutton Bird Islands Group; the Mutton Bird Island is part of the Southwest National Park and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Site. The highest point of Mutton Bird Island is 40 metres above sea level; the island is part of the Port Davey Islands Important Bird Area, so identified by BirdLife International because of its importance for breeding seabirds. Recorded breeding seabird and wader species are the little penguin, short-tailed shearwater, fairy prion, Pacific gull, silver gull and sooty oystercatcher. Reptiles present are the metallic skink and Tasmanian tree skink. List of islands of Tasmania
Muttonbirding is the seasonal harvesting of the chicks of petrels shearwater species, for food and feathers by recreational or commercial hunters. Such hunting of petrels and other seabirds has occurred in various locations since prehistoric times, there is evidence that many island populations have become extinct as a result. More ‘muttonbirding’ refers to the regulated and sustainable harvesting of shearwaters in Australia and New Zealand; these include the short-tailed shearwater known as the yolla or Australian muttonbird, in Bass Strait, Tasmania, as well as the sooty shearwater known as the titi or New Zealand muttonbird, on several small islands known as the Muttonbird Islands, scattered around Stewart Island in the far south of New Zealand. Licensed commercial harvesting of short-tailed shearwater chicks on the coast and islands of Tasmania began in 1903, although it had long been a traditional form of subsistence harvesting by Tasmanian Aborigines and European settlers there. However, by the late 20th century the industry was declining due to falling demand for the product and reduced interest by younger indigenous people in the main area of activity, the islands of the Furneaux Group.
The harvesting of sooty shearwater chicks on 36 islands, known as the Titi or Muttonbird Islands, around Rakiura, is managed by Rakiura Māori. There is some evidence. Muttonbird may refer to various seabirds petrels in the genus Puffinus, called shearwaters, where the young birds are harvested for food and oil by being extracted by hand from the nesting burrows before they fledge; the English term "muttonbird" emerged among settlers on Norfolk Island as the strong taste and fattiness of these birds' meat was likened to mutton. Others have compared it to seafood in flavour; some species are: Short-tailed shearwater, a seabird that nests in south-eastern Australia in the Furneaux Group of islands in eastern Bass Strait Sooty shearwater, a seabird that nests in New Zealand and islands in the South Atlantic Ocean Wedge-tailed shearwater, found throughout the tropical and subtropical parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans Manx shearwater, breeding in the North Atlantic region, was harvested in historical times Cape Verde shearwater, breeding in the Cape Verde archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean, has declined because of over-harvesting Grey-faced petrel Providence petrels, harvested to extinction on Norfolk Island in the early 19th century but still existing on Lord Howe Island, were known as'muttonbirds' or'flying sheep' Faroese puffin Adam-Smith, Patsy..
Moonbird People. Rigby: Adelaide.. Keep the Titi Forever Migration of sooty shearwater from New Zealand to the north Pacific - TerraNature article Muttonbird recipes Muttonbirding in New Zealand Stop muttonbird slaughter - AACT article A Seaweed Pantry - Tales from Te Papa Episode 100 - A short YouTube video about muttonbirding