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Second record of Bryan's Shearwater Puffinus bryani from Midway Atoll, with notes on habitat selection, vocalizations, and at-sea distribution.


Peter Pyle*, Reginald David, Bruce D. Eilerts, A. Binion Amerson, Abraham Borker, and Matthew McKown

*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Full citation: Pyle, P., R. David, B. D. Eilerts, A. B. Amerson, A. Borker, and M. McKown. 2014. Second record of Bryan's Shearwater Puffinus bryani from Midway Atoll, with notes on habitat selection, vocalizations, and at-sea distribution. Marine Ornithology 42:5-8. (Download pdf here)

Abstract: Little is known of the conservation requirements of Bryan's Shearwater Puffinus bryani, first described in 2011 based on a specimen collected in February 1963, near an area containing concrete rubble, at Midway Atoll. Here we document a second Bryan's Shearwater, observed on Midway during the winters of 1990-1991 and 1991-1992. It was vocalizing from a 0.5-0.7 m crevice, also within an accumulation of artificial concrete and coral rubble. Recent winter specimens of Bryan's Shearwaters from the Ogasawara Islands, Japan, were also collected in areas with rocky crevices, possibly of individuals co-utilizing burrows with summer-breeding Bulwer's Petrels Bulwaria bulwerii. This habitat is not found naturally on low-lying atolls in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands; however, it does occur on Nihoa and Necker Islands, where Bulwer's Petrels breed abundantly. Digitized video and vocalization recordings from 1991 on Midway, detailed here and available at, are currently being used to locate breeding Bryan's Shearwaters in the Ogasawara Islands. Similar monitoring should be considered for Nihoa and Necker Islands. None of five at-sea records of small shearwaters in the central and eastern North Pacific Ocean can be confirmed as Bryan's Shearwater; thus, nothing is currently know of its life history patterns and requirements at-sea.

This page includes
Video and audio recordings of Bryan's Shearwater and audio recordings of other small shearwaters to accompany figure four of the manuscript.

Video recording of Bryan's Shearwater and habitat surrounding crevice in which it was located, Midway Atoll, 17 December 1991. Video by Bruce D. Eilerts.

Figure 4. Spectrograms of Bryan's Shearwater Puffinus bryani (A), Boyd's Shearwater P. boydi (B), Barolo Shearwater P. baroli (C), Little Shearwater P. assimilis haurakiensis (D), and Newell's Shearwater P. newelli (E). Spectrograms created with WildSpectra.

A. Bryan's Shearwater, Midway Atoll (this paper).
B. Boyd's Shearwater, Cape Verde Islands (Magnus Robb, pers. comm.)
C. Barolo Shearwater, Azores Islands (Magnus Robb, pers. comm.)
D. Little Shearwater, Burgess Island (C. Gaskin, pers. comm.)
E. Newell's Shearwater, Kaua'i Island (A. Raine, pers comm.)