Sunday, January 5, 2003

Manx Shearwater: A New species for Panama

The following acount was stolen from The FieldEditor's Report, by George Angehr, published in the January-February issue of El Tucán.

The highlight of this report is a new species for Panama, Manx Shearwater (Puffinus puffinus). The bird was discovered in a weakened condition in the sea near shore at Isla Margarita, near Colón, by Karla and Rogny Aparico and Oris Acevedo, during the Atlantic Christmas Count on 5 January 2003. The bird was taken to the Smithsonian’s Galeta Laboratory, but died the night of 8 January. The bird’s upperparts, including the sides of the rump, were blackish, and the underparts, including the throat and undertail coverts, were pure white. The wing linings also were extensively white. The dark color on the side of the face extended well below the eye. The legs and feet were mostly dark gray, but pink on the inner sides. The slender bill and overall configuration indicate a shearwater of the genus Puffinus. Among small black-and-white Puffinus species, Audubon’s and Townsend’s Shearwaters have dark undertail coverts, and Townsend’s and Newell’s have white patches extending on to the sides of the rump. Little Shearwater has more white on the face, and has different proportions. The Manx Shearwater breeds mainly around the British Isles; the nearest breeding colonies to Panama are in the Azores and off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The species is common at sea off the northeastern US, and rare as far south as the West Indies. This seems to be only the second record of the species from the mainland of Central America, the other being a bird found dead in Belize.

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