Archived 2011-2012 topics: Heinroth’s Shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi): request for information

Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.

BirdLife species factsheet for Heinroth’s Shearwater

Heinroth’s Shearwater Puffinus heinrothi is known from the Bismarck Archipelago and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, and Kolombangara in the Solomon Islands (Coates 1985, Buckingham et al. 1995). The species is listed as Vulnerable under criteria D1 and D2, on the basis that it is thought to have a very small population, estimated at 250-999 individuals, and a breeding range restricted to fewer than six locations.

The species’s population trend is suspected to be stable; however, the islands on which it is known to breed are inhabited by introduced cats, rats and dogs. Although the species is likely to breed in high inaccessible mountains, rats have been observed to at least 900 m on Kolombangara, and are a potential threat to a burrow-nesting species such as this (Buckingham et al. 1995). Cats, though, are perhaps a greater threat (G. Dutson in litt. 2007). The species is also potentially impacted by logging, which may actually be the most important threat (C. Collins pers. comm.). Any evidence that suggests a decline is occurring in the population might make the species eligible for uplisting to Endangered under criterion C2a(ii).

Further information on this species is requested, in particular on the likely impacts of potential threats and the probable population trend.


Buckingham, D. L., Dutson, G. C. L. and Newman, J. L. (1995) Birds of Manus, Kolombangara and Makira (San Cristobal) with notes on mammals and records from other Solomon Islands. Report of the Cambridge Solomons Rainforest Project 1990.

Coates, B. J. (1985) The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Alderley, Australia: Dove.

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4 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Heinroth’s Shearwater (Puffinus heinrothi): request for information

  1. Guy Dutson says:

    1) There are too few data to infer any population change (I saw one at sea off Gizo in 2010)
    2) It would be useful to clarify that logging does not threaten the highest altitudes or the volcano caldera on Kolombanaga, nor most of Bougainville, the two most likely nesting islands.
    3) Chris Filardi may be able to comment on logging on Kolombangara

  2. This account is seriously out of date- you need to consult Hadoram Shirihai. Since the species has survived so long it seems unlikely to be newly threatened now.

  3. Joe Taylor says:

    The following comments were sent by Chris Collins on 16 November 2011:

    Guy is correct that there is currently relatively little logging going on at Kolombangara, however . . . I see this as a long term threat. Some of the other islands in the Solomons have been very heavily logged and it is difficult to see this trend changing, ie more islands will be targeted by commercial loggers and as populations expand, local people will cut more forests for their own needs.

    If commercial logging was to happen on Kolo, this could have a major impact on this species but at the moment it is not a problem.

    I would concur with Guy that there is simply not enough data to draw any conclusions about population trends. With cats, rats, dogs etc on all the islands, however, it is difficult to imagine this species is expanding and on the six occasions I have been there, I have only ever seen small numbers of this species……..

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