Bulletin of The British Ornithologists' Club 1995 115:75-87
40028842

A new species of Puffinus shearwater from the western Indian Ocean

H.
Shirihai
et
al.
81
Bull.
B.O.C.
1995
115(2)
formula
and
the
usual
biometrics
of
wing,
tail
etc.)
used
at
present,
is
inadequate
and
that
additional
external
characters
should
be
considered,
e.g.
bill
structure
(i.e.
degree
of
development/volume/shape
of
nasal
tubes
and
maxillary
unguis
and
perhaps
other
characters),
body/wing/tail
proportions,
etc.
Attention
should
also
be
given
to
internal
anatomy,
differences
in
marine
biotope,
eco-biology
and
phenology.
However,
the
easiest
route
at
present
in
helping
to
solve
the
problem
may
be
through
DNA
studies.
According
to
the
specimens
that
we
have
examined
thus
far,
the
complex
is
apparently
best
divided
into
about
8
species:
P.
atrodorsalis.
The
breeding
grounds
of
the
species
seem
likely
to
be
in
the
southwest
Indian
Ocean,
possibly
around
the
Comoro
Is.
where
numbers
have
been
found
in
the
season
when
other
petrels
have
been
reported
breeding;
the
occurrence
of
a
fledged
juvenile
from
Reunion
may
also
be
relevant.
Characters
as
detailed
above.
P.
assimilis.
Three
groups:
northeast
Atlantic
(baroli,
boydi);
southwest
Pacific/New
Zealand/Southern
Ocean
(elegans,
kermadecen-
sis,
hanrakiensis
,
myrtae);
Australia,
Lord
Howe
&
Norfolk
Is.
(tunneyi,
assimilis).
General
characters
as
detailed
above.
These
three
groups
are
distinct
from
one
another
morphologically
and/or
geographically
and
merit
further
investigation
into
their
status
and
relationships;
boydi
perhaps
should
be
treated
on
its
own.
P.
Iherminieri.
West-central
Atlantic
{Iherminieri,
loyemilleri)
and
across
central
Pacific
Ocean
(subalaris,
dichrous,
polynesiae).
General
characters
as
detailed
above.
P.
(I.)
nicolae.
West
Indian
Ocean
(nicolae,
bailloni).
Characterised
by
darker/warm
sooty-brown
upperparts,
large
conspicuous
pectoral
patches,
whiter
underwing
coverts,
and
markedly
robust
bill
with
well
developed
nasal
tubes
and
maxillary
unguis.
P.
(I.)
gunax.
Locally
in
west-central
Pacific
(New
Hebrides),
monotypic.
Characterised
by
large
size,
deep
sooty-black
upperparts
(often
lightly
edged
pale,
more
so
on
greater
coverts
forming
distinct
wing-bar),
light
area
around
ear-coverts
and
distinctly
long,
slender
bill.
This
population
is
distinctive
but
little
material
is
available.
P.
bannermani.
Locally
in
northwest
Pacific
(Bonin
&
Volcano
Is.),
monotypic.
Characterised
by
distinctive
greyish
collar;
otherwise
reminiscent
of
gunax,
and
may
be
conspecific.
P.
heinrothi.
New
Britain
(west
Pacific
Ocean),
monotypic.
Characterised
by
wholly
dark
appearance,
and
has
been
recorded
as
having
blue-grey
eyes.
P.
persicus.
Northern
Indian
Ocean,
monotypic.
Characterised
by
predominantly
light
brown
upperparts,
variegated
underwing
coverts
and
axillaries,
large
size
and
slender
bill.
Vaurie
(1965)
proposed
bannermani
and
Harrison
(1983)
suggested
heinrothi
as
full
species,
and
these
two
taxa
together
with
persicus
are
separated
by
Sibley
&
Monroe
(1990)
and
Hoyo
(1992).
The
form
temptator
(Comoro
Is.,
Indian
Ocean),
known
only
from
the
type
specimen,
is
apparently
rather
distinct
but
strongly
resembles
Audubon's
of
the
Pacific
and
west-central
Atlantic
Oceans
(so
may
indicate
worldwide
distribution
of
Audubon's),
although
somewhat