Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lava Shearwater. Still out there somewhere?

I have a soft-spot for Shearwaters, perhaps from growing up close to massive Manx Shearwater colonies in Wales.  Thought this article was really interesting, and I'm really not sure what to make of the photographs.  Could this be the extinct Lava Shearwater?  This species (Puffinus olsoni), only described in 1990, once bred on several of the Canary Islands but has been extinct since perhaps the 15th Century.  The 'fossil' remains of the species are apparently very common on the islands suggesting that the species was once a common breeder, perhaps in very large colonies.  It is believed to have been hunted, and perhaps also fell victim to introduced mammalian predators of some sort.  And of course, no-one know what it looked like, which makes an unusual looking small shearwater a very interesting bird indeed.

Image and background facts courtesy of Wikipedia
Even if this isn't a 'ghost of a gone bird', the link has some nice information on sea-birds in the Canary Islands.

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