Arabian Shearwater – or something else – in Australian waters.

Arabian Shearwater Simon Mustoe

by Gunnar on November 8, 2010 · 0 comments

in Birding News

Arabian Shearwater on

This is good opportunity to both introduce readers of  about a surprising observation of Arabian Shearwater in Australian waters as well as the great Australian web-site (which actually aims to cover the whole world). is a fine example how a birding-site use new techniques of web 2.0 more efficiently. Bookmark this site now!

About 100 nautical miles west of Darwin over Flat Top Bank, we encountered the first of several groups of small to medium-sized shearwaters. The six birds initially seen were in heavily overcast conditions and because they appeared dark, were called as Hutton’s Shearwaters.

However, photographs confirmed we were in fact looking at one of the ‘Audubon’s’ type shearwaters. We’ve long expected such a seabird to occur in Australia but had no idea they would be in such big numbers.

In the end, we saw seven groups, the largest of which comprised about 35 birds. So this would appear to be not only a first for Australia but also a substantial wintering ground. Evidence currently available to us points to these being Arabian Shearwater, a bird that breeds in the far north west Indian Ocean.

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Also go on and read the comment section for the article. There are many good seabirders that have their say. Killian Mullarney for instance says he sees significant differences in underwing pattern, upperwing pattern and moult compared to Arabian Shearwater he saw and photographed off the south coast of Oman….So what is this? A new taxon???

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