Puffinus puffinus (Brunnich, 1764)
Ornithologia borealis p.29
The Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) is a medium-sized shearwater in the seabird family Procellariidae. The scientific name of this species records a name shift: Manx Shearwaters were called Manks Puffins in the 17th Century. Puffin is an Anglo-Norman word (Middle English "pophyn") for the cured carcasses of nestling shearwaters. The Atlantic Puffin acquired the name much later, possibly because of its similar nesting habits. 
The prefix Manx, meaning from the Isle of Man, originated owing to the once large colony of Manx Shearwaters found on the Calf of Man (a small island just south of the Isle of Man). The species had declined there owing to the accidental introduction of rats from a shipwreck in the late eighteenth century; the rats have, however, recently been removed from the Calf of Man allowing Shearwater numbers to increase.
This species breeds in the North Atlantic, with major colonies on islands and coastal cliffs around Great Britain and Ireland. These birds have been nesting along the Atlantic coast of northeastern North America since about 1970 . They nest in burrows, laying one white egg which is only visited at night to avoid predation by large gulls. They form life-long monogamous pair-bonds.
This bird is 30-38 cm long, with a 76-89 cm wingspan. It has the typically "shearing" flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wingbeats, the wingtips almost touching the water. This bird looks like a flying cross, with its wing held at right angles to the body, and it changes from black to white as the black upperparts and white undersides are alternately exposed as it travels low over the sea.
This is a gregarious species, which can been seen in large numbers from boats or headlands, especially on passage in autumn. It is silent at sea, but at night the breeding colonies are alive with raucous cackling calls. The Manx Shearwater feeds on small fish (particularly herring, sprat and sardines), crustaceans, cephalopods and surface offal. The bird forages individually or in small flocks, and it makes use of feeding marine mammals and schools of predatory fish, which push prey species up to the surface. It does not follow boats.
They are extraordinarily long-lived. A Manx Shearwater breeding on Copeland Island, Northern Ireland, was as of 2003/2004 the oldest known living wild bird in the world: ringed as an adult (at least 5 years old) in July 1953, it was retrapped in July 2003, at least 55 years old .
Manx Shearwaters migrate over 10,000 km to South America in winter, using waters off southern Brazil and Argentina, so this bird has covered a minimum of 1,000,000 km on migration alone (not counting day-to-day fishing trips). Another bird ringed in 1957 and still breeding on Bardsey Island off Wales in April 2002, was calculated by ornithologist Chris Mead to have flown over 8 million km (5 million miles) during its life.
1. ^ Lee & Haney (1996)
* Alcover, Josep Antoni (2001): Nous avenços en el coneixement dels ocells fòssils de les Balears. Anuari Ornitològic de les Balears 16: 3-13. [Article in Catalan, English abstract] PDF fulltext
* Austin, Jeremy J. (1996): Molecular Phylogenetics of Puffinus Shearwaters: Preliminary Evidence from Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Gene Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 6(1): 77–88. doi:10.1006/mpev.1996.0060 (HTML abstract)
* BirdLife International (2004). Puffinus puffinus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
* Bull, John L.; Farrand, John Jr.; Rayfield, Susan & National Audubon Society (1977): The Audubon Society field guide to North American birds, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-394-41405-5
* Heidrich, Petra; Amengual, José F. & Wink, Michael (1998): Phylogenetic relationships in Mediterranean and North Atlantic shearwaters (Aves: Procellariidae) based on nucleotide sequences of mtDNA. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 26(2): 145–170. doi:10.1016/S0305-1978(97)00085-9 PDF fulltext
* Holdaway, Richard N; Worthy, Trevor H. & Tennyson, Alan J. D. (2001): A working list of breeding bird species of the New Zealand region at first human contact. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 28(2): 119-187. PDF fulltext
* Lee, D.S. & Haney, J.C. (1996): Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), In: The Birds of North America, No. 257, (Poole, A. & Gill, F. eds). The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA and The American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC
* Sangster, George; Knox, Alan G.; Helbig, Andreas J. & Parkin, David T. (2002): Taxonomic recommendations for European birds. Ibis 144(1): 153–159. doi:10.1046/j.0019-1019.2001.00026.x PDF fulltext
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