Plate 295

Manks Shearwater

Although I have procured this species to the westward of the banks of Newfoundland, or between their soundings and the American coast, I am unable to say any thing of importance respecting its habits as observed by myself. This species formerly inhabited a small islet close to the Isle of Man, but appears to have now entirely deserted it. In the Orkneys, however, it is still abundant, and the eggs and young are in much request there. It arrives in March, and, when the young are able to fly, betakes itself to the open sea, disappearing towards the approach of winter. The British writers who have described it inform us, that it stands nearly erect, flies with great rapidity, feeds on marine animal substances of all kinds, and, when taken, squirts out an oily fluid from its nostrils in the manner of the Petrels. It is said to breed in burrows, and to lay only a single egg, of a white colour and elliptical form, about the size of that of a domestic fowl. 

PUFFINUS ANGLORUM, Bonap. Syn., p. 371. 
SHEARWATER PETREL, Nutt. Man., vol. ii. p. 336. 
MANKS SHEARWATER, Puffinus anglorum, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. iii. p. 604. 

Adult, 15, 32. 

Not uncommon off the coast of Maine during summer. Breeds on Sable Island, off Nova Scotia. Ranges, at times, to great distances seaward. 


Bill about the length of the head, rather slender, a little compressed, straightish, the tips curved. Upper mandible with the dorsal line convex, and sloping at the base, afterwards slightly concave, on the unguis curved, the ridge broadly convex, narrowed toward the end, the sides convex, the edges sharp and slightly inflected; the unguis stout, curved, rather acute. Nostrils tubular, approximated, dorsal; the narrow nasal groove extending to the unguis. Lower mandible with the angle very long and narrow, the short dorsal line beyond it decurved, the sides convex and sloping inwards, the edges sharp and inflected. 

Head of moderate size, ovate, narrowed before. Neck of moderate length. Body elongated. Feet of moderate size; tibia feathered to near the joint; tarsus compressed, anteriorly and posteriorly sharp, covered all over with diversiform scales, of which a series in the inner side is scutelliform. Toes rather long, slender, excepting the first, which is a mere conical knob principally composed of the claw; anterior toes connected by striated webs, of which the margin is concave, scutellate above, the third and fourth longest and about equal. Claws small, compressed, slightly arched, obtuse, that of third toe with the inner edge a little dilated. 

Plumage dense, soft, blended, on the upper parts rather compact. Feathers of the fore part of the head very short. Wings long, sharp; primaries tapering, rounded; first longest, the rest regularly graduated; secondaries rather short, rounded. Tail rounded, of twelve feathers. 

Bill deep greenish-black. Iris dark brown. Inner and middle of outer side of tibia dingy orange, the rest greenish-black, as is the fourth toe and outer side of the third, the inner side of the latter and the whole of the second dingy orange; the webs much paler; claws brownish-black. All the upper parts are brownish-black, the lower white. 

Length to end of tail 15 inches, to end of wings 15 1/2, to end of claws 16; extent of wings 32; wing from flexure 9 3/4; tail 3 1/2; bill along the back 1 8/12, along the edge of lower mandible 1 10/12; tarsus 1 11/12; middle toe 1 10/12, its claw 4/12. Weight 15 oz. 

The Female is similar to the male.

For more on this species, see its entry in the Birds of North America Field Guide.

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