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Bird Write-ups: Encyclopedia Arctica 4: Zoology (Birds)
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

Bird Write-ups

Classification of Arctic Birds

EA-Ornithology
(George M. Sutton)

CLASSIFICATION OF ARCTIC BIRDS

ORDER GAVIIFORMES (Loons)
Family Gaviidae
Genus Gavia
G. immer: Common Loon or Great Northern Diver (3)
G. adamsii: Yellow-billed Loon (14)
G. arctica: Arctic Loon (1)
G. stellata: Red-throated Loon (12)
ORDER COLYMBIFORMES (Grebes)
Family Colymbidae
Genus Colymbus
C. ruficollis: Little Grebe or Dabchick (26)
C. auritus: Horned or Slavonian Grebe (25)
C. nigricollis: Black-necked Grebe (15)
C. cristatus: Great Crested Grebe (21)
C. grisegena: Red-necked Grebe (28)
ORDER PROCELLARIIFORMES (Albatrosses, Fulmars, Shearwaters, Petrels, and their Allies)
Family Diomedeidae
Genus Diomedea
D. albatrus: Short-tailed Albatross (66)
D. nigripes: Black-footed Albatross (33)
D. melanophris: Black-browed Albatross (32)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER PROCELLARIIFORMES (continued)
Family Procellariidae
Subfamily Fulmarinae
F. glocialis. Fulmar Petred
Subfamily Puffininae
Genus Puffinus
P. creatopus: Pink-footed Shearwater (59)
P. gravis: Greater Shearwater (45)
P. tenuirostris: Slender-billed Shearwater (68)
P. griseus: Sooty Shearwater (69)
P. puffinus: Common Shearwater (38)
Genus Pterodroma
P. inexpectata: Scaled Petrel (64)
Genus Bulweria
B. bulwerii: Bulwer’s Petrel (37)
Family Hydrobatidae
Genus Oceanites
O. oceanicus: Wilson’s Petrel (72)
Genus Hydrobates
H. pelagicus: Stormy Petrel (70)
Genus Oceanodroma
O. Leucorhoa: Leach’s Petrel (49)
O. furcata: Fork-tailed Petrel (41)
ORDER PELECANIFORMES (Gannets, Cormorants, and their Allies)
Family Sulidae
Genus Morus
M. bassanus: Gannet or Solan Goose (76)
Family Phalacrocoracidae
Genus Phalacrocorax
P. auritus: Double-crested Cormorant (75)
P. carbo: Common Cormorant (73)
P. aristotelis: Green Cormorant (77) or shag (85)
P. pelagicus: Pelagic Cormorant (80)
P. penicillatus: Pallas’s Cormorant (79)
P. urile: Red-faced Cormorant (84)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER CICONIIFORMES (Herons and their Allies)
Family Ardeidae
Genus Ardea
A. cinerea: Gray Heron (96)
ORDER ANSERIFORMES
Suborder Anseres
Family Anatidae
Subfamily Anserinae
Tribe Cygnini
Genus Cygnus
C. cygnus: Whooper Swan (103)
C. buccinator: Trumpeter Swan (101)
C. bewickii: Bewick’s Swan (98)
C. columbianus: Whistling Swan (102)
Tribe Anserini
Genus Chen
C. hyperborea: Snow Goose (130)
C. caerulescens: Blue Goose (110)
C. rossii: Ross’s Goose (129)
Genus Anser
A. anser: Gray-lag Goose (117)
A. fabalis: Bean Goose (including Pink-footed Goose) (100)
A. albifrons: White-fronted Goose (135)
A. erythropus: Lesser White-fronted Goose (124)
Genus Philacte
P. canagica: Emperor Goose (116)
Genus Branta
B. bernicla: Brant (111)
B. leucopsis: Barnacle Goose (106)
B. canadensis: Canada Goose (114)
B. ruficollis: Red-breasted Goose (128)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER ANSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Anseres (continued)
Family Anatidae (continued)
Subfamily Anatinae
Tribe Tadornini
Genus Tadorna
T. tadorna: Sheld-duck or Sheldrake (189)
Tribe Anatini
Genus Anas
A. acuta: Pintail (182)
A. crecca: Green-winged Teal (167)
A. formosa: Baikal Teal (146)
A. platyrhynchos: Mallard (173)
A. penelope: European Widgeon (160)
A. americana: Baldpate or American Widgeon (147)
Genus Spatula
S. clypeata: Shoveller (191)
Tribe Aythyini
Genus Aythya
A. fuligula: Tufted Duck (179)
A. marila: Scaup or Greater Scaup Duck (187)
Tribe Mergini
Genus Somateria
S. mollissima: Eider or Common Eider (158)
S. spectabilis: King Eider (170)
S. fischeri: Spectacled Eider (195)
Genus Polysticta
P. stelleri: Steller’s Eider
Genus Camptorhynchus
C. labradorius: Labrador Duck (171)
Genus Melanitta
M. nigra: Black or Common Scoter (149)
M. perspicillata: Surf Scoter (197)
M. fusca: White-winged Scoter (202)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER ANSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Anseres (continued)
Family Anatidae (continued)
Subfamily Anatinae (continued)
Tribe Mergini (continued)
Genus Histrionicus
H. histrionicus: Harlequin Duck (168)
Genus Clangula
C. hyemalis: Long-tailed Duck or Old-squaw (172)
Genus Bucephala
B. islandica: Barrow’s Goldeneye (148)
B. clangula: Goldeneye or Common Goldeneye (164)
B. albeola: Bufflehead (151)
Genus Mergus
M. albellus: Smew (192)
M. serrator: Red-breasted Merganser (185)
M. merganser: Goosander (165)
ORDER FALCONIFORMES (Eagles, Hawks, Ospreys, Falcons, and their Allies)
Suborder Falcones
Family Accipitridae
Subfamily Perninae
Genus Pernis
P. apivorus: Honey Buzzard (234)
Subfamily Milvinae
Genus Milvus
M. milvus: Kite (237)
Subfamily Accipitrinae
Genus Accipiter
A. gentilis: Goshawk (224)
A. nisus: Sparrow Hawk (257)
A. striatus: Sharp-shinned Hawk (255)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER FALCONIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Falcones (continued)
Family Accipitridae (continued O )
Subfamily Buteoninae
Genus Buteo
B. buteo: Buzzard (212)
B. lagopus: Rough-legged Hawk or Rough-legged Buzzard (253)
Genus Aquila
A. chrysaëtos: Golden Eagle (223)
Genus Haliaeetus
H. leucocephalus: Bald Eagle (208)
H. albicilla: White-taled Eagle (263)
H. pelagicus: Steller’s Sea Eagle (258)
Subfamily Circinae
Genus Circus
C. cyaneus: Marsh Hawk or Hen Harrier (239)
Family Pandionidae
Genus Pandion
P. haliaëtus: Osprey or Fish Hawk (244)
Family Falconidae
Subfamily Falconinae
Genus Falco
F. rusticolus: Gyrfalcon (229)
F. peregrinus: Peregrine Falcon (249)
F. subbuteo: Hobby (233)
F. columbarius: Merlin (240)
F. vespertinus: Red-footed Falcon (252)
F. tinnunculus: Kestrel (236)
ORDER GALLIFORMES (Ptarmigans, Grouse, Partridges, Quails, and their Allies)
Suborder Galli
Family Tetraonidae
Genus Tetrao
T. urogallus: Capercaillie or Capercailzie (270)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER GALLIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Galli (continued)
Family Tetraonidae (continued)
Genus Lyrurus
L. tetrix: Black Grouse (266)
Genus Lagopus
L. lagopus: Willow Ptarmigan (302)
L. mutus: Rock Ptarmigan (290)
L. leucurus: White-tailed Ptarmigan (301)
Genus Canachites
C. canadensis: Spruce Grouse or Spruce Partridge (296)
Genus Falcipennis
F. falcipennis: Sharp-winged Grouse (293)
Genus Tetrastes
T. bonasia: Hazel Hen or Hazel Grouse (279)
Genus Bonasa
B. umbellus: Ruffed Grouse (291)
Genus Pedioecetes
P. phasianellus: Sharp-tailed Grouse (292)
Family Phasianidae
Subfamily Phasianinae
Genus Perdix
P. perdix: Common, Gray, or Hungarian Partridge (271)
Genus Conturnix
C. coturnix: Quail (289)
ORDER GRUIFORMES (Cranes, Rails, and their Allies)
Suborder Grues
Family Gruidae
Genus Grus
G. grus: Common Crane (306)
G. monacha: Hooded Crane (312)
G. canadensis: Sandhill Crane (315)
G. leucogeranus: White Crane (316)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER GRUIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Grues (continued)
Family Gruidae (continued)
Genus Anthropoïdes
A. Virgo: Demoiselle Crane (308)
Family Rallidae
Genus Rallus
R. aquaticus: Water Rail (333)
Genus Crex
C. crex: Corn Crake (322)
ORDER CHARADRIIFORMES (Oystercatchers, Plovers, Sandpipers, Phalaropes, Gulls,
Terns, Auks, and their Allies)
Suborder Charadrii
Family Haematopodidae
Genus Haematopus
H. ostralegus: Oystercatcher (352)
Family Charadriidae
Subfamily Vanellinae
Genus Vanellus
V. vanellus: Lapwing (348)
Subfamily Charadriinae
Genus Squatarola
S. squatarola: Gray Plover or Black-bellied Plover (344)
Genus Pluvialis
P. apricaria: Golden Plover (342 and 343)
P. dominica: American Golden Plover (334 and 343)
Genus Charadrius
C. hiaticula: Ringed Plover (356)
C. semipalmatus: Semipalmated Plover (358)
C. dubius: Little Ringed Plover (349 and 356)
C. vociferus: Killdeer (347)
C. mongolus: Mongolian Plover (350)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER CHARADRIIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Charadrii (continued)
Family Charadriidae (continued)
Subfamily Charadriinae (continued)
Genus Eudromias
E. morinellus: Dotterel (340)
Family Scolopacidae
Subfamily Tringinae
Genus Bartramia
B. longicauda: Bartramian Sandpiper or Upland Plover (373)
Genus Numenius
N. minutes: Pygmy Curlew (441)
N. borealis: Eskimo Curlew (397)
N. phaeopus: Whimbrel (including Hudsonian Curlew) (482)
N. tahitiensis: Bristle-thighed Curlew (377)
N. arquata: Common Curlew (382)
N. madagascariensis: Amur Curlew (365)
Genus Limosa
L. limosa: Black-tailed Godwit (374)
L. haemastica: Hudsonian Godwit (407)
L. lapponica: Bar-tailed Godwit (371)
Genus Tringa
T. erythropus: Dusky Redshank (392)
T. totanus: Redshank (446)
T. flavipes: Lesser Yellowlegs (413)
T. nebularia: Greenshank (405)
T. ocrophus: Green Sandpiper (including Solitary Sandpiper) (404)
T. glareola: Wood Sandpiper (486)
T. guttifer: Armstrong’s Sandpiper or Spotted Greenshank (368)
Genus Xenus
X. cinereus: Terek Sandpiper (474)
Genus Actitis
A. hypoleucos: Common Sandpiper (383)
A. macularia: Spotted Sandpiper (469)
Subfamily Arenariinae
Genus Aphriza
A. virgata: Surfbird (471.1)
Genus Arenaria
A. interpres: Turnstone (478)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER CHARADRIIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Charadrii (continued)
Family Charadriidae (continued)
Subfamily Scolopacinae
Genus Limnodromus
L. griseus: Short-billed Dowitcher (461.1 and 390)
L. scolopaceus: Long-billed Dowitcher (421 and 390)
Genus Capella
C. stenura: Pin-tailed Snipe (436)
C. media: Great Snipe (403)
C. gallinago: Common Snipe (including Wilson’s Snipe) (384)
Genus Scolopax
S. rusticola: Woodcock (485)
Genus Lymnocryptes
L. minimus: Jack Snipe (409)
Subfamily Eroliinae
Genus Calidris
C. canutus: Knot (410)
C. tenuirostris: Great Knot (402)
Genus Crocethia
C. alba: Sanderling (455)
Genus Ereunetes
Ereunetes pu
E. pusillus: Semipalmated Sandpiper (460)
E. mauri: Western Sandpiper (480)
Genus Eurynorhynchus
E. pygmaeus: Spoon-billed Sandpiper (466)
Genus Erolia
E. ruficollis: Rufous-necked Sandpiper (454)
E. minuta: Little Stint (418)
E. temminckii: Temminck’s (472)
E. subminuta: Long-toed Stint (422)
E. minutilla: Least Sandpiper or American Stint (411)
E. fuscicollis: White-rumped or Bonaparte’s Sandpiper (483)
E. bairdii: Baird’s Sandpiper (370)
E. melanotos: Pectoral Sandpiper (430)
E. acuminata: Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (461)
E. maritima: Purple Sandpiper (440)
E. ptilocnemis: Rock Sandpiper (451)
E. alpina: Dunlin (including Red-backed Sandpiper) (391)
E. testacea: Curlew Sandpiper (387)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER CHARADRIIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Charadrii (continued)
Family Scolopacidae (continued)
Subfamily Eroliinae (continued)
Genus Limicola
L. falcinellus: Broad-billed Sandpiper (378)
Genus Micropalama
M. himantopus: Stilt Sandpiper (470)
Genus Tryngites
T. subruficollis: Buff-breasted Sandpiper (379)
Genus Philomachus
P. pugnax: Ruff (453)
Family Phalaropodidae
Genus Phalaropus
P. fulicarius: Red Phalarope or Gray Phalarope (445)
Genus Lobipes
L. lobatus: Northern Phalarope or Red-necked Phalarope (427)
Suborder Lari
Family
Suborder Lari
Family Stercorariidae
Genus Catharacta
C. skua: Great Skua (492)
Genus Stercorarius
S. pomarinus: Pomarine Jaeger (497)
S. parasiticus: Parasitic Jaeger or Arctic Skua (497)
S. longicaudus: Long-tailed Jaeger or Buffon’s Skua (494)
Family Laridae
Subfamily Larinae
Genus Pagophila
P. eburnea: Ivory Gull (519)
Genus Larus
L. canus: Common Gull (including Short-billed Gull) (509)
L. argentatus: Herring Gull (516)
L. fuscus: Lesser Black-backed Gull (523)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER CHARADRIIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Lari (continued)
Family Laridae (continued)
Subfamily Larinae (continued)
Genus Larus (continued)
L. marinus: Black-backed Gull (506)
L. glaucescens: Glaucous-winged Gull (513)
L. hyperboreus: Glaucous Gull (512)
L. glaucoides: Iceland Gull (517)
L. kumlieni: Kumlien’s Gull (521)
L. ridibundus: Black-headed Gull (506)
L. philadelphia: Bonaparte’s Gull (507)
L. minutes: Little Gull (524)
Genus Rhodostethia
R. rosea: Ross’s Gull (534)
Genus Rissa
R. tridactyla: Kittiwake (520)
Genus Xema
X. sabini: Sabine’s Gull (536)
Subfamily Sterninae
Genus Sterna
S. hirundo: Common Tern or Sea Swallow (547)
S. paradisaea: Arctic Tern (546)
Suborder Alcae
Family Alcidae
Genus Plautus
P. alle: Dovekie or Little Auk (567)
Genus Pinguinis
P. impennis: Great Auk (570)
Genus Alca
A. torda: Razor-billed Auk (587)
Genus Uria
U. lomvia: Thick-billed or Brunnich’s Murre (592)
U. aalge: Common Murre or Guillemot (564)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER CHARADRIIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Alcae (continued)
Family Alcidae (continued)
Genus Cepphus
C. grylle: Black Guillemot (560)
C. columba: Pigeon Guillemot (583)
Genus Brachyramphus
B. brevirostris: Kittlitz’s Murrelet (573)
Genus Cyclorrhynchus
C. psittacula: Parakeet Auklet (582)
Genus Aethia
A. cristatella: Crested Auklet (565)
A. pusilla: Least Auklet (575)
Genus Fratercula
F. arctica: Puffin (586)
F. corniculata: Horned Puffin (572)
Genus Lunda
L. cirrhata: Tufted Puffin (594)
ORDER CUCULIFORMES (Cuckoos and their Allies)
Suborder Cuculi
Family Cuculidae
Genus Cuculus
C. canorus: Cuckoo (596)
C. saturatus: Oriental Cuckoo (602)
ORDER STRIGIFORMES (Owls)
Family Strigidae
Subfamily Buboninae
Genus Bubo
B. virginianus: Great Horned Owl (613)
B. bubo: Eagle Owl (610)
Genus Nyctea
N. scandiaca: Snowy Owl (628)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER STRIGIFORMES (continued)
Family Strigidae (continued)
Subfamily Buboninae (continued)
Genus Surnia
S. ulula: Hawk Owl (614)
Subfamily Striginae
Genus Strix
S. nebulosa: Great Gray Owl or Lapp Owl (612)
Genus Asio
A. otus: Long-eared Owl (619)
A. flammeus: Short-eared Owl (627)
Genus Aegolius
A. funereus: Boreal Owl or Tengmalm’s Owl (608)
ORDER APODIFORMES (Swifts and their Allies)
Suborder Apodi
Family Apodidae
Genus Apus
A. apus: Swift (634.1 e)
ORDER CORACIIFORMES (Kingfishers and their Allies)
Suborder Alcedines
Family Alcedinidae
Subfamily Cerylinae
Genus Megaceryle
M. alcyon: Belted Kingfisher (636)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER PICIFORMES (Woodpeckers and their Allies)
Suborder Pici
Family Picidae
Subfamily Picinae
Genus Colaptes
C. auratus: Yellow-shafted Flicker (659)
Genus Dendrocopos
D. major: Great Spotted Woodpecker (650)
D. villosus: Hairy Woodpecker (651)
Genus Picoides
P. tridactylus: Three-toed Woodpecker (657)
P. arcticus: Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker (643)
ORDER PASSERIFORMES (Perching Birds)
Suborder Tyranni
Family Tyrannidae
Genus Sayornis
S. saya: Say’s Phoebe (674)
Suborder Passeres
Family Alaudidae
Genus Alauda
A. arvensis: Skylark (688)
Genus Eremophila
E. alpestris: Shore Lark or Horned Lark (918)
Family Hirundinidae
Genus Iridoprocne
I. bicolor: Tree Swallow (704)
Genus Riparia
R. riparia: Bank Swallow or Sand Martin (689)
Genus Hirundo
H. rustica: Common Swallow or Barn Swallow (690)
Genus Delichon
D. urbica: House Martin (698)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER PASSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Passeres (continued)
Family Corvidae
Genus Perisoreus
P. infaustus: Siberian Jay (730)
P. canadensis: Canada Jay or Gray Jay (711)
Genus Corvus
C. corax: Raven (728)
C. corone: Carrion Crow (712)
C. cornix: Hooded Crow (719)
C. monedula: Jackdaw (720)
Genus Nucifraga
N. caryocatactes: Nutcracker (725)
Family Paridae
Genus Parus
P. major: Great Tit (739)
P. atricapillus: Black-capped Chickadee or Willow Tit (734)
P. cinctus: Gray-capped Chickadee or Lapp Tit (738)
P. hudsonicus: Brown-capped Chickadee (735)
P. ater: Coal Tit (737)
Genus Aegithalos
A. caudatus: Long-tailed Tit (742)
Family Sittidae
Genus Sitta
S. europaea: Nuthatch (748)
Family Certhiidae
Genus Certhia
C. familiaris: Tree Creeper or Brown Creeper (751)
Family Cinclidae
Genus Cinclus
C. cinclus: Dipper (754.2)
C. mexicanus: American Dipper (752)
Family Troglodytidae
Genus Troglodytes
T. troglodytes: Wren or Winter Wren (757)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classification

ORDER PASSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Passeres (continued)
Family Turdidae
Genus Turdus
T. merula: Blackbird (759)
T. migratorius: American Robin (758)
T. torquatus: Ring Ousel (779)
T. pilaris: Fieldfare (765)
T. naumanni: Dusky Thrush (762)
T. musicus: Red-winged Thrush (778.1)
T. ericetorum: Song Thrush (783)
T. viscivorus: Mistle Thrush (770)
T. sibiricus: Siberian Thrush (782)
Genus Ixoreus
I. naevius: Varied Thrush (788)
Genus Hylocichla
H. minima: Gray-cheeked Thrush (766)
Genus Oenanthe
O. oenanthe: Wheatear (789)
Genus Saxicola
S. torquata: Stonechat (784)
S. rubetra: Whinchat (790)
Genus Phoenicurus
P. phoenicurus: Redstart (777)
Genus Cyanosylvia
C. svecica: Blue-throat (760)
Genus Erithacus
E. rubeccula: Robin or Robin Redbreast (780)
Family Sylviidae
Genus Sylviidae
S. atricapilla: Black-cap [: ] (793)
S. borin: Garden Warbler (796)
Genus Phylloscopus
P. collybita: Chiffchaff (794)
P. trochilus: Willow Warbler (805)
P. borealis: Eversmann’s Warbler (795)
P. inornatus: Yellow-browed Warbler (806)
Genus Acrocephalus
A. schoenobaenus: Sedge Warbler (801)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classifications

ORDER PASSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Passeres (continued)
Family Regulidae
Genus Regulus
R. regulus: Golden-crowned Kinglet (809)
R. calendula: Ruby-crowned Kinglet (812)
Family Muscicapidae
Genus Muscicapa
M. striata: Spotted Flycatcher (815)
M. hypoleuca: Pied Flycatcher (814)
Family Prunellidae
Genus Prunella
P. modularis: Hedge Sparrow (818)
P. montanella: Arctic Accentor (817)
Family Motacillidae
Genus Motacilla
M. alba: Wagtail or White Wagtail (841)
M. citreola: Citrine Wagtail (827)
M. flava: Yellow Wagtail (842)
Genus Anthus
A. spinoletta: Water Pipit (840)
A. trivialis: Tree Pipit (838)
A. pratensis: Meadow Pipit (829)
A. cervinus: Red-throated Pipit (834)
A. gustavi: Pechora Pipit (832)
Family Bombycillidae
Genus Bombycilla
B. garrulous: Waxwing (848)
Family Laniidae
Genus Lanius
L. excubitor: Great Gray Shrike (851)
L. cristatus: Red-tailed Shrike (855)
Family Sturnidae
Genus Sturnus
S. vulgaris: Starling (858)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classifications

ORDER PASSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Passeres (continued)
Family Paulidae
Genus Vermivora
V. selata: Orange-crowned Warbler (874)
Genus Dendroica
D. petechia: Yellow Warbler (886)
D. coronata: Myrtle Warbler (870)
D. striata: Black-poll Warbler (863)
Genus Seiurus
S. noveboracensis: Water Thrush (872)
Genus Wilsonia
W. pusilla: Wilson’s Warbler (884)
Family Ploceidae
Genus Passer
P. domesticus: House Sparrow or English Sparrow (890)
P. montanus: Tree Sparrow (894)
Family Icteridae
Genus Euphagus
E. carolinus: Rusty Blackbird (888.2)
Family Fringillidae
Genus Fringilla
F. coelebs: Chaffinch (901)
F. montifringilla: Brambling (897)
Genus Pyrrhula
P. pyrrhula: Bullfinch (898)
Genus Pinicola
P. enucleator: Pine Grosbeak (932)
Genus Chloris
C. chloris: Greenfinch (912)
Genus Spinus
S. spinus: Siskin or Common Siskin (942)
S. pinus: Pine Siskin (933)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Classifications

ORDER PASSERIFORMES (continued)
Suborder Passeres (continued)
Family Fringillidae (continued)
Genus Acanthis
A. cannabina: Linnet (920)
A. flavirostris: Twite (950)
A. flammea: Common Redpoll or Mealy Redpoll (930)
A. hornemanni: Hornemann’s Redpoll (916)
Genus Loxia
L. curvirostra: Crossbill, Common Crossbill, or Red Crossbill (937)
L. pytyopsittacus: Parrot Crossbill (929)
L. leucoptera: White-winged or Two-Barred Crossbill (953)
Genus Passerculus
P. sandwichensis: Savannah Sparrow (941)
Genus Junco
J. hyemalis: Slate-colored Junco (943)
Genus Spizella
S. arborea: Tree Sparrow (949.1)
Genus Zonotrichia
Z. leucophrys: White-crowned Sparrow (952)
Z. coronata: Golden-crowned Sparrow (910)
Genus Passerella
P. iliaca: Fox Sparrow (906)
Genus Calcarius
C. lapponicus: Lapland Longspur or Lapland [: ] Bunting (918)
C. pictus: Smith’s or Painted Longspur (944)
Genus Plectrophenax
P. nivalis: Snow Bunting (947)
Genus Emberiza
E. pallasii: Pallas’s Bunting (928)
E. schoeniclus: Reed Bunting (939)
E. pusilla: Little Bunting (921)
E. rustica: Rustic Bunting (940)
E. citrinella: Yellow Bunting (955)
E. aureola: Yellow-breasted Bunting (954)
E. hortulanus: Ortolan Bunting (926)

Gaviiformes (Loons)

EA-Ornithology
(George Miksch Sutton)

LOONS

Order GAVIIFORMES
Family GAVIIDAE
1. Arctic Loon. See writeup.
2. Black-throated Diver. A name widely used among English-speaking peoples
for the European race or subspecies of the arctic loon ( Gavia
ar c tica ) ( q.v. q.v. ).
3. Common Loon. See writeup.
4. Diver. Any of several diving birds, especially the loons. See Common Loon
(Great Northern Diver), Arctic Loon (Black-throated Diver), Red–
throated Loon (Red-throated Diver), and Yellow-billed Loon (White–
billed Northern Diver). See also GAVIIFORMES and Gavia .
5. Gavia . See writeup.
6. GAVIIFORMES . See writeup.
7. Great Northern Diver. A widely used name for the Common Loon ( Gavia immer )
( q.v. q.v. ).
8. Green-throated Loon. Gavia arctica viridigularis , a race or subspecies of
arctic loon found in northeastern Siberia, Sakhalin, Kamchatka, and
extreme western Alaska. Sometimes known as the green-throated diver.
See Arctic Loon.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Loons

9. Lesser Common Loon. Gavia immer elasson , a small race or subspecies of
the common loon or great northern diver found, supposedly, in
interior North America. See Common Loon.
10. Loon. Any of four species of large northern diving birds belonging to
the genus Gavia , family Gaviidae, and order Gaviiformes (among some
authors, the genus Colymbus , family Colymbidae, and other order Pygopodes),
which have long, straight, sharp bills; long necks; firm plumage;
and feet placed far back in the body. A loon differs from a grebe
principally in having webbed rather than lobed feet and fully developed
rather than degenerate tail feathers. Some s times called diver. See
GAVIIFORMES , Gavia , Common Loon, Arctic Loon, Red-throated Loon,
and Yellow-billed Loon.
11. Pacific Loon. Gavia arctica pacifica , a race of the arctic loon found in
North America. See Arctic Loon.
12. Red-throated Loon. See writeup.
13. White-billed Northern Diver. A name used in Europe for the Yellow-billed
Loon ( Gavia adamsii ) ( q.v. q.v. )
14. Yellow-billed Loon. See writeup.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Arctic Loon

1. Arctic Loon . A large diving bird, Gavia arctica , sometimes called
the black-throated loon, which is holarctic in breeding distribution, and
which is represented in northern Europe (including Iceland) by the nominate
subspecies, a form widely known as the black-throated diver; in Asia, from
the “Kirghiz Steppe and west Siberia to the Yenesei,” by G. arctica suschkini
(5); in northeastern Siberia, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, and western Alaska (Cape
Prince of Wales) by the green-throated loon, G. ar c tica viridigularis ; and
throughout most of Arctic America (from Point Barrow, Alaska, eastward to
Melville Peninsula, southern Baffin Island, Southampton Island, and the Carey
Islands in northern Baffin Bay, and southward to the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak
Island, central British Columbia, Lake Athabas c k a, Nueltin Lake, and Churchill
and York Factory on the west coast of Hudson Bay) by G. arctica pacifica , the
so-called p P acific loon. Differences between these four races are slight,
although A. M. Bailey (1), who believes that viridigularis and pacifica both
breed in the Cape Prince of Wales region of Alaska, considers viridigularis
a full species.
The arctic loon winters well to the southward of its breeding range —
in the Mediterranean, Caspian, and Black seas; off the coast of India and
Japan; and from southern Alaska southward to southern Baja California. The
paucity of records from the Atlantic coast of the United States and the Gulf
of Mexico indicates that the species does not winter there at all commonly.
It has been recorded from Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Iowa, New York (Long Island,)
and New Hampshire.
The arctic loon is smaller than the common loon. The most distinctive
field mark of its breeding plumage is the light ashy gray of the crown, nape,
and hind neck — a character which shows at great distance in the clear

EA-Orn. Sutton: Arctic Loon

atmosphere of the Far North. The sides of the neck and forebreast are ele–
gantly lined with black and white. The rows of evenly spaced white spots on
the back and scapulars are even bolder in effect than those of the common loon.
In winter plumage the bird is dark gray above, white below, without noticeable
ruptive markings of any sort.
The arctic loon probably mates for life. In spring, having made its way
back to its tundra nesting ground, it frequents the mouths of rives and open
leads in the salt-water ice until the lakes begin to thaw. Pairs of the big–
headed, stub-tailed birds fly eagerly inland, circling the ice-covered ponds
and calling excitedly. Their cries resemble the syllables kud-loo-lee (from
which an Eskimo name for the bird, kudloolik , is derived), the yelp of a dog,
and a human moan. In Siberia, however, the bird is known as the gagarra (3).
The nest is primitive — a shallow basin in the turf or a mound of damp
vegetation at the water’s edge, frequently on a tiny islet at some distance
out from shore. The two eggs sometimes lie directly on the moist earth. Both
the male and female incubate. When they change places at the nest, “they sit
close together for a few moments and twist their necks from side to side in a
fixed ritual” (7). An incubating bird occasionally plucks moss or grass which
it places on the nest rim or absent-mindedly holds in its beak. On seeing an
enemy approaching, it may stretch its neck out flat on the ground. The incuba–
tion period is said to be 28 days.
When the nesting pond is shallow and without fish, the parent loons must
fly to salt water regularly the summer through in order to obtain food. Some
fish which they capture and swallow they may regurgitate for the young birds
on their return, but invariably they carry one fish back held crosswise in the
beak. If early sets of eggs are taken by foxes, jaegers, or Eskimos, the

EA-Orn. Sutton: Arctic Loon

female lays again, and very late broods are sometimes frozen in the ice. The
newly hatched young, which are dark gray on the head, neck , and upper part of
the body, and white on the belly, are so buoyant that they cannot dive very
well; but as they increase in size they become more and more expert at under–
water maneuvers. They stay in the nesting pond until they can fly. The parent
loons are very solicitous of them. On Southampton Island, where the arctic
loon was common during the summer of 1930, I found many pairs with their young
on lakes near the head of South Bay. I occasionally lured newly hatched young
to the shore through the well-known Eskimo trick of splashing my fingers in the
water. The old loons were fairly frantic while I remained in the vicinity.
They circled on their narrow, whistling wings, croaking and growling savagely.
Sometimes they alighted very close to me with a resounding whack! which sent
a thin, glistening fan of water far out in front of them. In alighting, all
loons strike the water breast first, not feet first as ducks and geese do.
The postnuptial molt of adult arctic loons does not start until the young
can obtain their own food. If, therefore, the nesting lake has no fish in it,
the parent birds continue to bring food from afar until the flight feathers
of the young have fully developed. Never do the young birds attempt to travel
overland from the nesting pond to salt water. After the young have flown to
salt water, or to a lake in which there are fish, the parent birds can molt.
If the young do not fly until very late in the season, young and old birds
probably migrate southward together and the adults proceed with the postnup–
tial molt on their wintering ground.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Arctic Loon

BIBLIOGRAPHY References:

1. Bailey, A. M. Birds of Arctic Alaska . Denver, Co l ., Colorado Museum of
Natural History, 1948. Popular Ser. No. 8.

2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American diving birds,” U.S.Nat.Mus.
Bull . no.107, pp.67-72, 1919.

3. Haviland, M.D. A Summer on the Yenesei . Lond., Arnold,1915.

4. Hersey, F.S. “The status of the Black-throated Loo a n ( Gavia arctica )
as a North American bird,” Auk , vol.34, pp.283-90, 1917.

5. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass., Har–
vard Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1, p.34.

6. Pike, O.G. “Photographing the Black-throated Diver and Gray Lag-goose,”
British Birds , vol.5, pp.178-85, 1911.

7. Stonor, C.R. Courtship and Display Among Birds . Lond., Country Life
Ltd., 1940, p.62, and plate 37.

8. Sutton, G.M. “The birds of Southampton Island, Hudson Bay,” Carnegie Mus.
Mem . vol.12, pt.2, sect.2, pp.13-18, 1932.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Common Loon

3. Common Loon . A large diving bird, Gavia immer , frequently called the
great northern diver. It is probably the best known of the Gaviidae (loons)
among white men, though it is not very well known among most Eskimos and other
Far Northern peoples. A Baffin Island Eskimo name for it is tudlik or tullik .
It is sometimes referred to as the black-billed loon, to distinguish it from
the yellow-billed or white-billed loon ( G. adamsii ). It breeds on lakes
throughout most of continental North America from New England, northern New
York, northern Pennsylvania, northern Ohio, northern Indiana, Wisconsin, North
Dakota, and northeastern California northward; on certain of the Aleutians
westward as far as Kiska; in the southern part of the Arctic Archipelago
(notably Banks and Baffin Islands); and in Newfoundland, Greenland (north
to about lat. 70° N. on the west coast and to 76° on the east coast), Iceland,
and Bear Island. Unlike the red-throated loon ( G. stellata ) and arctic loon
( G. arctica ), it often nests in forested country, the area of its greatest
abundance being, perhaps, the well-wooded southeastern part of Canada and
the state of Maine. It is decidedly rare in northern Alaska. It probably
nests sparingly in Spitsbergen. Summer records from Jan Mayen, the Faeroes,
the outer Hebrides, northern Scotland, and the Shetlands suggest the possibility
of its nesting there. It winters in open water from Alaska southward to the
Gulf of California; from the Great Lakes and Maine southward to the Gulf of
Mexico; and from the British Channel and the North and Baltic seas to the
western Mediterranean, Madeira, the Azores, and (casually) the Black Sea. Two
subspecies are currently recognized — G. immer immer (common loon) and G .
immer elasson (lesser common loon). The later race, which is allegedly smaller,
is said to breed “in the Dakotas and perhaps adjacent states and Canadian
provinces” (3). Baffin Island specimens measured by Shortt and Peters (5)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Common Loon

and Greenland specimens measured by Rand were definitely small for the nominate
race. Some taxonomists believe that elasson should not be recognized.
In full breeding plumage the common loon is a handsome bird. It is about
27 to 32 inches long, not including the feet, which protrude well beyond the
tail. The head and neck are velvety black, glossed with green, blue, and violet.
Two patches of bold white lines almost form a collar about the neck. The upper
part of the body, including the back, rump, tail, wings, sides, and flanks, is
black marked with thick-set, symmetrical rows of more or less rectangular white
spots. The breast and belly are immaculate gleaming white. In winter the bird
is very different in color, its upper parts being plain gray, its under parts,
including the chin, throat, and most of the face and foreneck, white. The sexes
are alike. At all seasons the eyes of adults are red.
The common loon is best known for its wild cry, which is clear, far-carrying,
and laughter-like in quality; and for its ability to dive “before the bullet
gets there” when shot at. It lives almost exclusively on fish, and in winter
is frequently caught in nets, sometimes at considerable depth. If it alights
on a small body of water it may be unable to get away in calm weather, for it
cannot rise in flight unless it can “run” a long distance on the surface or fly
straight into the wind.
North of the tree limit, the common loon summers only on the largest of
the tundra lakes, laying its two eggs on a small island, or at the tip of a
long promontory, in a nest which is a mere scooping out, or leveling off, of
the turf. Yeates (6) has reported eggs in a northern Iceland nest as early as
June 2. Throughout arctic and subarctic parts of its range the breeding popula–
tion is thin and scattered. A careful study of the species should be made in the
Arctic, particularly in areas inhabited also by the yellow-billed loon (q.v.).

EA-Orn. Sutton: Common Loon

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Dunlop, E.B. “Notes on the Great Northern Diver,” British Birds vol.9,
pp.142-27, 1915.

2. Munro, J.A. “Observations of the loon in the Cariboo Parklands, British
Columbia,” Auk , vo.62, pp.38-49, 1945.

3. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1.

4. Rand, A.L. “Notes on some Greenland birds,” Auk , vol.64, p.282, Apr., 1947.

5. Shortt, T.M., and Peters, H.S. “Some recent bird records from Canada’s
Eastern Arctic,” Canad.J.Res . vol.20, sect.D, no.11,
p.339, Nov., 1942.

6. Yeates, G.K. “Field notes on the nesting habits of the Great Northern
Diver,” British Birds , vol.43, pp.5-8, and plates 1-9, 1950.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gavia

5. Gavia . The avian genus to which all the loons of the world belong.
The four species are remarkably similar structurally as well as in behavior
and nesting habits, all being boldly patterned in the breeding plumage but
inconspicuously colored in winter. The best-known species among white men
is the common loon or great northern diver ( Gavia immer ), which breeds through–
out continental northern North America (south to the northern United States),
in southern parts of the Arctic Archipelago, and in Greenland, Iceland, Jan
Mayen, and Spitsbergen; it winters from the southern limits of its breeding
range southward to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf of California,
the North Sea, and the coasts of the British Isles. Closely related, but
not nearly so well known, is the much larger yellow-billed loon or white–
billed northern diver ( G. adamsii ), which breeds from the White Sea eastward
across Siberia and northern Alaska, on certain islands of the Arctic Archi–
pelage, and (probably) on continental North America from Great Slave Lake
and Nueltin Lake northward. Smallest of the four species is the red-throated
loon ( G. stellata ), which breeds from northernmost lands about the North Pole
southward to the Aleutian Islands, the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia,
Hudson, Bay, southern Labrador, the north shore of Lake Superior, Newfoundland,
Sweden, and northern Russia and Siberia. The arctic loon ( G. arctica ), which
is intermediate in size between the red-throated and common loons, is, like
the red-throated loon, panboreal in breeding distribution, but it does not
nest either as far north or as far south as that species.
If, as some taxonomists believe, the yellow-billed loon is a geographical
race of Gavia immer , then there are but three species of the genus Gavia ,
all of them with virtually circumpolar distribution, all with year-round
range lying northward of the equator.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gaviiformes

6. Gaviiformes . The avian order of loons, a small and remarkably homo–
geneous group of water birds containing but one family (Gaviidae), one genus
( Gavia ), and four species ( immer , adamsii , arctica , and stellata ), all of
which nest in northern regions. Throughout the order the sexes are alike in
shape and coloration, and the ey e s of adults are red.
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the loons and grebes belong
in separate orders. Certain European ornithologists place them together in
the order Pygopodes; use for the loons the family name Colymbidae and the
generic name Colymbus; and do not employ the name Gavia at all. This has led
to some nomenclatural confusion. Grebes and loons are strikingly different
in several basic respects: ( 1 ) In loons the tail is composed of 16 to 20
short but firm and well-developed rectrices; in grebes there are no obvious
tail features at all. ( 2 ) In loons the feet are webbed; in grebes the feet
are lobed. ( 3 ) In loons the sternum is much longer proportionally than in the
grebes. ( 4 ) The plumage of adult loons is much firmer and less “furry” than
that of grebes. ( 5 ) Newly hatched grebes of most species are striped, often
conspicuously so; newly hatched loons are dark gray above, lighter below, and
wholly unstriped. ( 6 ) Loons usually nest on land, laying dark-colored,
spotted eggs, which they do not cover when they leave the nest. Grebes build
floating nests and lay light-colored, unspotted eggs which they cover with wet
vegetation when they leave the nest.
All loons are accomplished swimmers and divers, but on land they are
almost helpless. They fly from the water with difficulty, usually “running”
along for a considera s ble distance, facing into the wind, and rising slowly.
Once squared away for steady flight, they hold their feet together straight
behind them. The “tail” of a flying loon is really its big, webbed feet stuck
out behind.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gaviiformes

Loons eat fish principally, the long, sharp bill, powerful muscles of
the head and neck, dense, firm plumage, and large feet, which are placed
far back in the body, all being modified for capturing fish. Especially
notable is the flattened tarsus, which can be drawn forward through the
water with great facility; and the bones, tendons, and muscles of the leg,
which are so designed as to permit each foot to function through a wide arc
directly behind the body, thus allowing the bird to change its course very
rapidly.
The loons inhabit the Northern Hemisphere exclusively, nesting on
large lakes far in the interior, or on tundra ponds, or slow-flowing rivers
close to the coast, and migrating southward to such North Temperate Zone
waters as are open the winter through and in which fish are abundant. This
fact, coupled with the fact that loon remains dating back as far as Tertiary
time have been found in North America and Europe, but not in more southerly
regions, give rise to a belief that the Gaviiformes were strictly northern
in origin.
All loons make primitive nests, which are sometimes little more than a
flattening off or scooping out of a tiny islet, or of a hummock at the tip
of a long, narrow promontory. The eggs number two; they vary considerably
in color, but usually are dark olive brown, irregularly spotted with darker
brown or black. The incubation period is 25 to 28 days in the red-throated
loon, longer (up to 30 days) in the common loon. Both sexes have been ob–
served to share the duties of incubation (common loon, arctic loon, and red–
throated loon). Young loons, which leave the nest soon after hatching, are
down-covered and very buoyant, hence do not dive very well.
Adult loons undergo a complete postnuptial molt into a winter plumage

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gaviiformes

which is much less strikingly marked than the breeding plumage. The pre–
nuptial molt, which involves, presumably, all the feathers except the remiges
and rectrices, brings the bird again into courting and breeding attire. Some
observers believe that the postnuptial molt frequently is finished not on or
near the breeding grounds but in winter after the southward migration has
taken place.
BIBLIOGRAPHY References:

1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American diving birds,” U.S.Nat.Mus.
Bull . no.107, pp.47-82, plates 45 and 46, 1919.

2. Sutton, G.M. “The wing molts of adult loons: a review of the evidence,”
Wilson Bull . vol.55, pp.145-50, 1943.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-throated Loon

12. Red-throated Loon . A diving bird, Gavia stellata , so named because
in summer the adult has a triangular brownish-red patch on the throat and fore–
neck. It is sometimes called the red-throated diver. It is the smallest of
the loons and is unlike the other three species in that it is gray and white
rather than black and white on its upper parts in summer. It is a compara–
tively slender-billed species. In breeding feather it is ashy gray on the head
and sides of the neck, with black and white striping on the crown and hind neck,
and red-brown throat patch; dark gray, flecked with white all over the upper
part of its body (the part showing above water line when the bird is swimming);
and pure white on the breast and belly. In winter it is gray flecked with
white above, and pure white below.
Like the arctic loon, the red-throated loon is holarctic in breeding dis–
tribution, but it nests both farther north and farther south than that species.
It ranges in summer from Iceland, Spitsbergen, Franz Josef Archipelago (Bell
and Mabel Islands) Jan Mayen (one record), Bear Island, Novaya Zemlya, northern
Russia, northern Siberia (including the New Siberian Archipelago and Wrangel
Island), northern Alaska, Banks Island, Prince Patrick Island, Melville Island,
Ellesmere Island (lat. 82°30' N.), and northern Greenland (lat. 82°27' N.)
south to Ireland (Donegal), Scotland, southern Sweden, Lake Baikal, Kamchatka,
the Commander Islands, Kuril Islands, Aleutian Islands, and Queen Charlotte
Islands, southern Mackenzie, northern Manitoba (Churchill, Hudson Bay), southern
Ontario (the north shore of Lake Superior), Gasp e é Peninsula, and Newfoundland.
It winters from the British Isles and the Baltic and North seas to the southern
shores of the Mediterranean, the Black and Caspian seas, southern Baluchistan,
Turkistan, China, Taiwan, and Japan; and in the New World from the Aleutian

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-throated Loon

Islands and the Pacific coast of Canada south to northern Baja California and
from Maine and the Great Lakes to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.
The red-throated loon probably mates for life. The pairs return to their
nesting grounds before the tundra ponds are free of ice, so they are obliged
to frequent the river mouths or the leads in the salt-water ice until the lakes
thaw. At this season they are very clamorous. One of their best-known cries
is a loud, rolling kok-a-rah-oh , kok-a-rah-oh , kok-a-rah-oh! which they repeat
over and over with the rhythm and wild enthusiasm of a college yell. Other
characteristic cries are a plaintive mew, which sometimes has a decidedly human
quality; and a sharp kok or kark , which may be primarily a note of alarm. The
Eskimos, who know the bird well, call it the kokshowk or kokarow (Alaska) in
imitation of its cries.
In spring and summer the pairs perform interesting sexual rites together —
beak-dipping while facing each other; splash-diving; and racing side by side
through the water, half-standing as they rush forward, sometimes with their wings
raised prettily over their backs. Splash-dives, which are amazingly quick, are
usually preceded by a sharp yelp. Racing birds sometimes give their weird
kok-a-rah-oh cry in duet. The most spectacular of the sexual displays has been
called a “snake-dance.” This is a joint performance in which the birds “zigzag
indiscriminately along the course in a state of wild excitement” (3).
One pair of red-throated loons per small tundra pond is the rule, though
two pairs have been known to nest at opposite ends of larger ponds, and along
the Yenisei Haviland (1) noted red-throated and arctic loons nesting on the
same ponds. The nest is a heap of moss in the turf, usually at the water’s
edge and preferably on a peninsula or tiny islet offshore. Both sexes are
believed to incubate. The incubation period is 25 to 28 days. An incubating

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-throated Loon

bird sometimes reaches out and gathers bits of moss which it adds to the nest.
Many early eggs of the red-throated loon are destroyed by jaegers. This
predation sometimes so delays brood-rearing that the young loons are still
unable to fly when the home pond begins to freeze shut in late August or
early September. I have seen half-grown red-throated loons swimming about
in a small pool which the birds managed to keep open in the ice. The faith–
ful parents continued to bring them food captured in salt water several miles
away. Some of this food the parents may have regurgitated, but some of it
(small fish) they carried crosswise in their beaks. In making a getaway
from the little icebound pond, the young loons probably waited for a stiff
wind into which they could rise without having to “run” a long distance
through water.
BIBLIOGRAPHY References:

1. Haviland, M.D. A Summer on the Yenesei . Lond., Arnold, 1915, p.198.

2. Huxley, J.S. “Courtship activities in the Red-throated Diver ( Colymbus
stellatus Pontopp .); together with a discussion of the
evolution of courtship in birds,” Linnaean Soc. J. (Zool. )
vol.35, pp.253-92, 1923.

3. Keith, D.B. “The Red-throated Diver in North East Land (Spitsbergen),”
British Birds , vol.31, pp.66-81, 1937.

4. Turner, E.L. “The Red-throated Diver in its breeding-haunts,” Ibid .
vol.7, pp.150-55, 1913.

5. Van Oordt, G.J., and Huxley, J.S. “Some observations on the habits of
the Red-throated Diver in Spitsbergen,” Ibid . vol.16,
pp.34-46, 1922.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Yellow-billed Loon.

14. Yellow-billed Loon . A large diving bird, Gavia adamsii , which closely
resembles the common loon or great northern diver ( G. immer ), but is decidedly
larger; has an ivory-colored or white, rather than black, bill; and is pur–
plish black rather than greenish black on the throat. Its bill shape is dis–
tinctive, the culmen line being straight (rather than slightly arched or de–
curved, as it is in the common loon) — a diagnostic feature which will serve
to identify it in subadult or winter plumage. It is sometimes called the
white-billed loon or white-billed northern diver. It is the largest of the
loons. An adult male taken July 8, 1914, at Camden Bay, Alaska, weighed
13 1/2 lb. (Canadian National Museum). An adult female shot in Hopper Bay,
Alaska, on May 27, 1924, weighed 10 lb. 3 oz. (4). An adult male Gavia immer
shot in Michigan in the latter part of May weighed 8 lb. 2 oz. (Museum of
Zoology, University of Michigan).
The yellow-billed loon summers in the Old World from northern Finland, the
Murman coast, and Novaya Zemlya eastward across northern Siberia; and in the
New World from Alaska (Cape Prince of Wales, Point Hope, Point Barrow, and Salmon
River) eastward to Somerset Island (7), Foxe Basin (8), Melville Peninsula,
Baker Lake, and Nueltin Lake. In Alaska it is said to breed on “the large
tundra lagoons usually back from the coast in rather inaccessible places, re–
mote from human habitations” (1). Birulia (3) was informed by natives of the
Iana River country that its breeding ground was not the tundra proper but the
lakes at the edge of the forest region south of the tundra. It nests commonly
along the Hanbury and Thelon rivers and presumably on lakes and streams through–
out the Great Slave Lake and Aylmer Lake district of the Northwest Territories.
The southern limits of its breeding range are ill-defined. It breeds northward
to well beyond the tree limit in the Arctic Archipelago, E. Porsild and

EA-Orn. Sutton: Yellow-billed Loon

A. L. Washburn having encountered it recently on both Victoria and Banks Islands.
Handley did not find it on Prince Patrick Island. It is possibly unique among
loons in that it frequently nests on slow-moving rivers (5).
In the summers of 1948 and 1949, A. W. F. Banfield found the yellow-billed
loon the commonest breeding loon of the tundra area east of Great Bear and Great
Slave lakes. He encountered it on all the larger lakes. Early in the summer
of 1948 he found a nest at the tip of a s s m all rocky peninsula on Lake Clinton–
Colden. On July 25, 1948, Banfield saw two adults and a small young one swim–
ming out from the bank of the Back River. Often he mistook the cry of an adult
loon for the wailing of a distant wolf. In early September, he saw many small
groups of yellow-billed loons migrating westward while numerous birds of other
species were moving southward. In the summer of 1946, he noted Gavia adamsii ,
but not G. immer , in the Mackenzie Delta.
The yellow-billed loon winters commonly off the Norway coast. It was “not
common” off the southeastern Alaskan coast in the winter of 1920 (1). It has
been recorded in winter occasionally along the Baltic coasts of sweden and Fin–
land as well as off Japan and China. There are migration records for various
parts of Europe (including the Caspian Sea), Alaska, the Commander Islands, and
Vancouver Island. The species has been reported at least once from Greenland
and once from Long Island, New York (19).
Since the yellow-billed loon and common loon look so much alike, all early
records for the latter in northwestern North America (especially for western
islands of the Arctic Archipelago) should be carefully checked. The close re–
semblance between the two forms has led some ornithologists to believe that they
may be conspecific; but until further field work brings to light an area in

EA-Orn. Sutton: Yellow-billed Loon

which they intergrade, or reveals that their breeding ranges strictly complement
each other, they may best be considered distinct. Both species may nest on Banks
Island, but Porsild and Washburn did not record immer there in the summer of 1949.
The yellow-billed loon’s plumages and molts are believed to be the same as
those of the common loon. When the birds move north to their nesting grounds,
they have completed the molt from the gray winter plumage into their handsome
breeding attire. They gather along open leads, or between the shore and the
retreating ice, waiting for the lakes to thaw out. They move inland in pairs
and the nesting ground rings with their wild cries. A Yakut name for the bird
means “diver that neighs like a horse” (6).
Bailey (1) tells us that on a chain of lakes along the Chipp River, about
a hundred miles inland from Point Barrow, Alaska, Robert Brower built “dummy
platforms” in the water on which yellow-billed loons promptly nested. From
these nests he collected several sets of the little-known eggs.
BIBLIOGRAPHY References:

1. Bailey, A.M. Birds of Arctic Alaska . Denver, Co l ., Colorado Museum of
Natural History, 1948, pp.133-38. Popular Ser . no.8.

2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American diving birds,” U.S.Nat.Mus.
Bull . no.107, pp.60-65, 1919.

3. Birulia, A. “Ocherki iz zhizni ptits poliarnago poberezhia Sibiri.”
(Sketches from the life of the birds of the arctic shores
of Siberia.). Akad.Nauk. Classe Phys.-Mat. Mem. Zapiski ,
ser.8, vol.18, no.2, 1907.

4. Brandt, Herbert. Alaska Bird Trails . Cleveland, O., The Author, 1943, p.319.

5. Critchell-Bullock, J.C. “An expedition to sub-arctic Canada,” Canad .
Field Nat . vol.45, p.12, Jan., 1931.

6. Pleske, Theodore. “Birds of the Eurasian tundra,” Boston Soc.Nat.Hist.
Mem . vol.6, no.3, p.353, Apr., 1928.

7. Shortt, T.M., and Peters, H.S. “Some recent bird records from Canada’s
Eastern Arctic,” Canad.J.Res . vol.20, sect.D, no.11,
p.339, Nov., 1942.

8. Taverner, P.A. “Fieldfare, an addition to the American list, and some
arctic notes,” Auk , vol.57, p.119, Jan., 1940.

9. Zimmer, J.T. “Yellow-billed loon on Long Island, New York,” Ibid .
vol.64, pp.145-46, Jan., 1947.

George Miksch Sutton

EA-Orn. Sutton: Grebes

GREBES
Order COLYMBIFORMES
Family COLYMBIDAE
15. Black-necked Grebe. See writeup.
16. COLYMBIFORMES. See writeup.
17. Colymbus. See writeup.
18. Dabchick. A vernacular name widely used among English-speaking peoples
for small grebes — in Europe especially for the little grebe
( Colymbus ruficollis ); in Australia for the little grebe and hoary–
headed grebe ( Colymbus poliocephalus ); in North America especially
for the pied-billed grebe ( Podilymbus podiceps ). The only one of
these three which ranges northward into subarctic regions is Colym
bus ruficollis .
19. Eared Grebe. The name commonly used in America for the New World race of
black-necked grebe (Colymbus caspicus) ( q.v. ).
20. Gray-cheeked Grebe. A name sometimes used in England for the red-necked
grebe (Colymbus grisegena) ( q.v. ).
21. Great Crested Grebe. See writeup.
22. Grebe. See writeup.
23. Hell-diver. A colloquial (not slang) name used widely in America for any
small grebe, especially the pied-billed grebe ( Podilymbus podiceps ),
a species which has been reported once from Baffin Island (Snyder,
Canad. Field - Nat . 44:123).
24. Holboell’s Grebe. The common name almost universally used among English–
speaking peoples for the subspecies of red-necked grebe ( Colymbus

EA-Orn. Sutton: Grebes

grisegena ) inhabiting northeastern Siberia (except Kamchatka) and the
New World. See Red-necked Grebe.
25. Horned Grebe. See writeup.
26. Little Grebe. See writeup.
27. Poliocephalus . A genus of four species of grebes (three inhabiting the Old
World, one inhabiting the New), all of them small, short-billed, and
without ornamental head plumage; currently regarded as inseparable
from the genus Colymbus ( q.v. ).
28. Red-necked Grebe. See writeup.
29. Slavonian (or Sclavonian) Grebe. The name used among British ornithologists
for the horned grebe ( Colymbus auritus ) ( q.v. ).

EA-Orn. Sutton: Grebes

15. Black necked Grebe . A diving bird, Colymbus caspicus , resembling
somewhat the horned or slavonia grebe ( Colymbus auritus ), hence intermediate
in size between the little grebe or dabchick ( Colymbus ruficollis ) and the red–
necked grebe ( Colymbus grisegena ). Like the horned grebe and red-necked grebe
it is found in both the Old World and the New; but its distribution is strik–
ingly dissimilar. Far from being exclusively a bird of the Northern Hemisphere,
it breeds not only in Eurasia and western North America but also throughout
almost all of Africa east and south of the Sahara. Nowhere in either the Old
World or [: ] the New does it nest so far north as does the horned grebe — Central
British Columbia and southern Manitoba marking about its northern limit in
North America, and Denmark, southern Sweden, the eastern lake provinces of
the U.S.S.R., the Aral and Caspain seas, the Altai Mountains, and the Amur val–
ley its northern limit in Eurasia. Three races are recognized: caspicus of
Eurasia; californicus of North America; and gurneyi of Africa. The two northern
races winter, respectively, in southern Europe, Indian (casually), China, and
Japan; and in western North America from Washington to Guatemala.
In breeding plumage the black-necked grebe is readily distinguishable from
the horned grebe by its black neck (the breeding horned grebe’s foreneck is rich
chestnut) and by the fan of narrow golden yellow feathers spreading backward
across the black cheek from the eye; but in winter plumage the two species are
very similar, both being dark gray above and white below (the lower part of the
head conspicuously white), the most dependable point of difference being that of
bill shape. In the horned grebe the bill is stoutish and straight; in the black–
necked grebe it is slender and slightly upturned. The two Old World races of
the black-necked grebe are further distinguishable from the horned grebe because
their primaries are partly white (Stresemann, Ibis , 90: 473-74) but Colymbus
caspicus californicus of North America has dark primaries.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Grebes

The black-necked grebe’s nesting habits are like those of the other
grebes. The floating nest is made of decaying vegetation and is more or
less hidden in water plants. The eggs number 4 as a rule; though as many as
8 have been recorded. Both sexes incubate. One of the cries of the breeding
season has been described as a rippling trill, “bidder vidder, bidder vidder”
(Griscom, fide Ticehurst, in Handbook of British Birds ).
BIBLIOGRAPHY References:

1. Pike, O.G. “The Black-necked Grebe,” British Birds , vol.13, pp.146-54, 1919.

2. Stresemann, Erwin. “The earliest description of the black-necked grebe,”
Ibis , vol.90, no.3, pp.473-74, 1948.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Colymbiformes

16. Colymbiformes . The avian order of grebes, a group of diving birds
bearing general resemblance to the loons (Gaviiformes) but differing in having
lobed rather than webbed feet; in having incomplete or “hairy” tail feathers;
and in being considerably smaller. The great crested grebe and red-necked
grebe are about as long as, but less heavy than, the smallest loon (red–
throated loon). The smallest grebes are less than a foot long. In the water
grebes are extremely graceful and quick, but on land they are virtually help–
less. A captive grebe, placed on the ground, may stand upright momentarily,
slap nosily forward on outward-pointing feet, tire suddenly, and sink down
with an audible grunt.
Taxonomists differ in opinion as to whether the grebes and loons belong
together in the same order, but agree that all loons belong together in one
family, and that all grebes belong together in a separate family. The family
named used for the loons by many British ornithologists is, unfortunately,
the very same as that used for the grebes by most ornithologists elsewhere —
the Colymbidae. This leads to some confusion, but it does not alter the fact
that the grebes and loons are very different — not alone in appearance and be–
havior, but also in present-day distribution and possibly even in o r igin.
The 18 species of grebes (family Colymbidae) are currently placed in four
genera. Colymbus , with 13 species, is considerably the largest genus of the
family, Podilymbus having but two species, Aechmophorus two, and Centropelma one.
Colymbus is the only genus of the four which is found in both the Old and New
Worlds which ranges northward into subarctic regions. It is further notable
in that it ranges southward far below the equator in both the Old World and
the New. Of the five species of the genus which breed in boreal regions, two
are large (among the largest grebes known), two are small, and one is very small.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Colymbiformes

Of these same five species, two (a large and a small) inhabit the Northern
Hemisphere exclusively; the other three are of widespread distribution,
ranging southward to far below the equator in the Old World . As for the
three genera found only in the New World ( Aechmophorus , Centropelma , and
Podilymbus ), none ranges northward into the subarctic, one ( Centropelma )
being a monotypic genus whose sole habitat is Lake Titicaca. The Colymbi–
formes are not, in other words, exclusively boreal, as are the Gaviiformes.
They are also much more diverse morphologically than that group, one genus
( Centropelma ) being flightless; one ( Aechmophorus ) having an exceedingly
long neck and long, sharply pointed bill; one ( Podilymbus ) having a short,
heavy bill. Several grebes (especially of the genus Colymbus ) have puffy or
oddly ornamented head plumage in the breeding season. Most grebes when adult
have unusual eye-color in that the pupil is surrounded with a narrow, light
ring. The color pattern of grebe plumage varies considerably, though it
tends to be dark on the head, neck, and upper part of the body, and satiny
white on the breast and belly. Throughout the order the sexes are colored
alike. Newly hatched grebes of most species are striped either on the head
and neck, or all over; but the chick of the western grebe or swan grebe
( Aechmophorus occidentalis ) is pale gray above and white below and wholly
without stripes of any sort.
The courtship behavior of grebes is extremely interesting, some forms
giving strange duet performances in which the male and female “run” rapidly
side by side through the water with necks oddly arched, sink to their bellies
with a splash, and disappear below the surface; others posturing before each
other while shaking “gifts” (pieces of wet vegetation brought up from the

EA-Orn. Sutton: Colymbiformes

bottom) in their bills; others giving loud shrieks or whinnies which make
the marshes ring. The great crested grebe ( Colymbus cristatus ) is an incred–
ibly shaped bird as it lifts and displays its ornamental head plumage.
All grebes, even those which breed northward into subarctic regions,
build a floating nest which is more or less anchored to aquatic vegetation.
Several species are semicolonial in their nesting. The eggs, which are un–
spotted, are light-colored when laid but soon become dark with nest stains.
Both sexes incubate. When the incubating bird leaves the nest, it usually
covers the eggs carefully with wet vegetation. The young are able to swim
and dive immediately after hatching, and since they are less buoyant than newly
hatched loons they stay under the water more successfully. Two broods are
frequently reared in temperate and tropical regions. When two broods are
reared, the male takes charge of the first while the female proceeds with the
second. During the postnuptial molt grebes become wholly flightless for a
period (as do loons), but this does not greatly inc on venience them because they
are so expert at diving.
For additional information see Grebe.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
[: ]
References:
1. Knowlton, F.H., and Ridgway, Robert. Birds of the World . N. Y., Holt,
1909, pp.103-106.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Colymbus

17. Colymbus . An avian genus composed of 13 species of grebes, each
of which has a slender, straight, or slightly upturned bill about as long as,
or slightly shorter than, the head; tarsus shorter than the middle toe and
its nail; primaries and secondaries of about equal length; and head plumage
which is more or less elongate or “puffy” (and frequently ornamental) in the
adult, especially in the breeding season. Among them are the most northward–
ranging grebes of the world — the red-necked grebe ( C. grisegena ) and horned
or Slavonian grebe ( C. auritus ); the large great crested grebe ( C. cristatus )
of the Old World; several well-known and widely ranging small species such
as the black-necked or eared grebe ( C. caspicus ); the very small little grebe
( C. ruficollis ) of the Old World; and the least grebe ( C. dominicus ) of the
New. Several (perhaps all) species of the genus are usually semicolonial in
their nesting. Among the factors which may Prevent their nesting farther
north than the y do are ( 1 ) insufficiency of animal food in shallow tundra ponds;
( 2 ) scarcity of aquatic vegetation from which nests might be made and in which
nests might be hidden. Shortness of breeding season at high northern latitudes
can hardly account for their failure to breed there, for the incubation and
fledging period is shorter than that of the loons, which do breed there.
The genus Colymbus is almost cosmopolitan in distribution, but no single
species of the genus has nearly so extensive a range as that of the group. The
species which range farthest north are probably the most migratory. Those
with very restricted ranges probably do not migrate at all. The great crested
grebe breeds throughout the Old World from southern Sweden and eastern Siberia
southward through much of Eurasia, Africa, Australia, Tasmania and New Ze a land,
but is not found in the New World at all. The little grebe is represented by
several races in various parts of the Old World but is not found in the New.

EA-ORn. Sutton: Colymbus

The black-necked grebe is represented by one race ( caspicus ) in Eurasia, an–
other ( gurneyi ) in Africa, a third ( californicus ) in North America. The horned
grebe and red-necked grebe breed in northern parts of both the Old and New
Worlds. The least grebe is found only in tropical parts of Middle and South
America and in the Greater Antilles. The hoary-headed grebe ( C. poliocephalus )
is restricted to Australia and Tasmania. Four species have very restricted
ranges — C. rolland of the Falkland Islands; C. taczanowskii of Lake Junin,
Peru; C. pelzelnii of Madagascar; and C. rufopectus of New Zealand. Only three
species of the 13 — the red-necked, horned (Slavonian), and black-necked
(eared), are common to the New World and the Old, and all of these breed north–
ward into (or very nearly into) the Subarctic in both America and Eurasia.
Two Old World species, the great crested and the little, range northward into
the Subarctic, as well as southward far below the equator. The horned grebe
and red-necked grebe are, like the arctic loon and red-throated loon, more or
less panboreal in breeding distribution and confined the year round to the
Northern Hemisphere; but the genus as a whole is so widely distributed today,
with about equal numbers of endemic species in the several land masses, that
it is impossible to decide where the group originated.
Five species ( ruficollis , pelzelnii , dominicus , rufopectus and poliocephalus )
are by some taxonomists placed in the separate genus Poliocephalus , but this does
not seem to be warranted, for the characters of Poliocephalus (small size; ab–
sence of bizarre head plumage in the breeding season; proportional stoutness of
bill) are superficial and not very clearly defined.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Great Crested Grebe

21. Great Crested Grebe . A well-known diving bird, Colymbus cristatus ,
of the Old World, said to be the largest species of its genus, family
(Colymbidae), and order (Colymbiformes), though careful weighing of specimens
may reveal that the red-necked grebe ( C. grisegena ) — a more robust and
shorter-necked species — is just as heavy.
Four geographical races of the great crested grebe are currently recog–
nized — one ( cristatus ) breeding more or less throughout Eurasia north to
about latitude 60° N., as well as in northern Africa; another ( infuscatus )
being confined to Africa south of the Sahara; one ( christiani ) being found
only in Australia and Tasmania; and one ( australis ) being restricted to New
Zealand.
The northernmost race, cristatus , which apparently is the only one of
the four to migrate at all, breeds from southern Sweden, Finland, central
Russian and central (?) Siberia southward to Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Turkes–
tan, Kashmir, northern India, and Japan ( Check-List ). Throughout the southern
part of this area it probably is nonmigratory; but in the northern part it
must move definitely southward in order to find open water in which there is
an adequate food supply.
In its full breeding plumage the great crested grebe is one of the most
oddly shaped birds imaginable — not because it is apparently tail-less, nor
merely because its neck is so slender, but because the depth of its crown,
neck, and cheek plumage makes its head appear about twice too large. With
crests and ruff lifted in full display it looks, especially when facing the
observer, like a sort of artifact, half-mammal, half-bird; or like an or–
dinary grebe which has had a huge hood, with “horns” or “ears” attached,
pulled loosely down over its head. Its bill is dark at the tip, pinkish

EA-Orn. Sutton: Great Crested Grebe

flesh-color at the base. The crown and head-ruff are deep chestnut, the
horns black, the sides of the face white. The hind-neck and upper part of
the body are dark brownish gray while the foreneck and under parts are silky
white. The white of the secondaries show plainly in flight, but not when the
bird is at rest. In winter the ornamental head plumage is replaced by much
shorter and less spectacular plumage and the dark and light parts of the color
pattern contrast less sharply.
The great crested grebe sometimes breeds in small companies, though it
is much less colonial than the little grebe or dabchick ( Colymbus ruficollis ).
It is said to have a harsh, grating cry and an alrm note resembling the sylla–
bles “ kek-kek ” in the breeding season. It lays three or four eggs (rarely up
to 8 or 9) which are very pale blue at first, but soon become nest-stained,
the shells having a chalky and highly absorptive outermost layer.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Huxley, J.S. “Courtship of the Great Crested Grebe,” Zool. Soc. Lond.
Proc . 1914, pp.491-562. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass.,
Harvard Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1, p.39. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Rankin, Niall. Haunts of British Divers . N.Y., Collins, 1947. Pt.1,
pp.1-46, with many photographs. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Grebe

22. Grebe . Any of several (about 18 species) apparently tail-less diving
birds belonging to the family Colymbidae and order Colymbiformes. Grebes rise
from the water with difficulty, but fly directly and rapidly once under way.
In alighting they strike the water first with their breasts and not with their
feet as ducks and geese do.
Grebes’ nests are floating masses of decaying vegetation more or less
hidden among water plants. Both sexes incubate. When an incubating bird
leaves the nest it covers the eggs with loose material from the nest rim.
Newly hatched grebes are down-covered and in most species striped. They take
to the water almost immediately and swim and dive well. Since animal food ob–
tainable by diving, and vegetation for nest material and shelter are requisite
to nesting, grebes tend to breed semicolonially in ponds or marshes which suit
their needs. That some subarctic ponds meet their requirements is evident,
because four widely ranging species breed well to the northward — the large
red-necked grebe and the small horned (or Slavonian) grebe to latitudes beyond
the Arctic Circle in both the Old World and the New; the great crested grebe
and little grebe (or dabchick) almost to the Arctic Circle in the Old World.
Grebes often swallow their own feathers. The stomachs of some specimens
examined have been literally packed with short body feathers. The reasons for
this strange habit are not known.
Grebes are almost cosmopolitan in distribution. The family (order) is so
well represented in the Old World and the New, and in both the Northern and
Southern Hemisphere, that most ornithologists despair of deciding upon a place
of origin. For additional information concerning grebes see Colymbiformes,
Colymbus, Black-necked Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Horned Grebe, Little Grebe
and Red-necked Grebe.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Horned Grebe

25. Horned Grebe . A small diving bird, Colymbus auritus , sometimes known
as the Slavonian (Sclavonian) grebe, which nests northward to and somewhat
beyond the Arctic Circle, and which is called “horned” because of the two tufts
of long, silky feathers worn on the head during the breeding season. The
horned grebe and the much larger red-necked grebe ( C. grisegena ) are the only
grebes found both in the New World and the Old as well as wholly (the year
round) in the Northern Hemisphere. Their range is similar to that of the
loons (Gaviiformes), though they do not breed northward to such high latitudes.
The horned grebe of the Old World does not differ from that of the New in
size or color, and no geographical races are currently recognized. The species
breeds in the Old World from northern Sweden, northern Norway, northern Fin–
land, Iceland, northern Russia (about lat. 65°30′ N.), and Siber i a (precise
limits not known) southward to Scotland, the Baltic States, and probably
southern Asia (at least as far south as the Altai Mountains and Semipalatinsk).
In the New World it breeds from central Alaska, northern Yukon, northern Mac–
kenzie, Nueltin Lake (rarely), the mouth of the Churchill River on Hudson Bay,
and the Gulf of St. Lawrence southward to the northern United States. It is
migratory presumably throughout its range, though there may be comparatively
sedentary breeding populations where there is open water the year round. It
winters southward to the Mediterranean Sea, Turkistan, China, California,
Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. Like the red-necked grebe, it is less common
in the interior than along the coast in winter. It has been reported from Green–
land, Jan Maye r n , the Komandorski Islands, and the arctic coast of Alaska.
In breeding dress the horned grebe is among the most colorful of the grebes.
Its fluffy head, which appears abnormally large even when the long, velvety
plumage is pressed down firmly, is brownish black, marked with a conspicuous

EA-Orn. Sutton: Horned Grebe

tuft or “horn” of buffy yellow which rises above and behind each eye. The
foreneck, upper breast, and sides are rich chestnut. The hindneck, back, and
wings are blackish brown, each feather being margined with a somewhat warmer
shade of brown. The white wing speculum is conce la al ed save when the bird
preens, stretches, stands up in the water and flaps its wings, or flies. The
breast and belly are gleaming, satiny white. The eye is incredibly beautiful,
reminding one of a superbly cut gem in a velvet setting. The tiny pupil is
surrounded by a narrow, brilliant, yellowish-white ring which is, in turn,
surrounded by the orange-scarlet iris. In winter the bird is different in
color and shape, though its eye is the same. The head plumage is much shorter
and there are no horns. All the silken yellows and browns of the breeding
attire are replaced by gray and white — the upper parts in general being dark
gray, the under parts white, the most conspicuous field mark being the white
of the cheeks and throat which almost forms a collar just below the head. In
winter the horned grebe and black-necked grebe are similar in appearance, but
the bill of the horned grebe is stoutish and straight, while that of the black–
necked grebe is slightly upturned and slender.
The breeding habits of the horned grebe do not differ markedly from those
of the other grebes. Several pairs often nest together, though apparently the
species is not colonial at the northern edge of its range. It is believed to
rear but one brood a season even in southern latitudes. On its nesting ground
it is sometimes quite bold in the presence of a human being, in this respect
being very different from the red-necked grebe. The eggs usually number 4 or 5
and are white or bluish white when first laid but soon become nest-stained.
Large sets (up to 10 eggs have been recorded) may possibly be laid by two
females.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Horned Grebe

Most g[]rebes swallow feathers occasionally, presumably during the
course of preening, but the horned grebe’s stomach is sometimes so filled
with feathers as to suggest that the bird may deliberately pluck and eat
them for reasons not understood at present.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. BuBois, A.D. “Notes on the breeding habits of the Slavonian Grebe,”
British Birds , vo.14, pp.2-10, 1930. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Little Grebe

26. Little Grebe . A comparatively nonmigratory Old World diving bird,
Colymbus ruficollis , which breeds northward in Europe to about latitude 62° N.
It is sometimes called (as are certain other small grebes) the dabchick. Its
scientific name has led some ornithologists to call it the red-necked grebe,
but this name is almost always applied to the very much larger species, Colym
bus grisegena . The little grebe is among the smallest of the Colymbiformes.
It is represented by several subspecies — ruficollis in Europe (east to the
Ural Mountains) and in northwest Africa; poggei in China; japonicus in Korea
and Japan; kunikyonis in the middle Ryukyu Islands; iraquensis in Mesopotamia;
philippensis in Formosa, Borneo, and the Philippines; vulcanorum and tricolor
in the East Indies; novaehollandiae in Australia, Tasmania, etc.; and capensis
in eastern and southern Africa and Madagascar. Its range is somewhat discon [: ]
tinuous probably because of absence of suitable breeding places), but there
may well be an undiscovered breeding population east of the Ural Mountains.
At this writing the species is believed to range northward into the Subarctic
only in Europe.
The little grebe is not quite 10 inches long. The most conspicuous feature
of its breeding dress is the dark reddish brown of the cheeks, throat, and
foreneck, and the bright yellowish green of the gape and base of the bill. It
has no bizarre head mark [: ] i ngs such as crests of tufts, and, aside from the red–
dish brown just mentioned, it is rather plain dark brown above and grayish
white below, with some white on the secondaries which shows in flight. In
winter it is less brightly colored throughout, the reddish brown of the throat
and checks being replaced by brownish buff.
On its breeding ground there is no more spirited and springtly sprightly creature
than this little water bird. It [: ] exhibits toward its fellows what must --

EA-Orn. Sutton: Little Grebe

possibly for want of a better understanding — be called pugnacity, bobbing
up to the surface lightly as a cork, squealing or whinnying in an angry (pos–
sibly an immensely pleased) voice, and darting with open bill at any other male
dabchick which happens to be close by, forcing the other bird either to fight
back vigorously or take refuge by diving. It dives in two wholly different
ways — with a graceful, curving leap forward; and with an amazingly fast
flick which creates the impression that the bird has deliberately kicked up
a veil of water in order to obscure its descent. It can, if it wishes, sink
slowly without diving at all — as all grebes do.
Its nest, which is a sodden mass of decaying vegetation, and which
though floating is often half submerged, is anything but conspicuous when the
bird is not on it, for before it leaves it covers the eggs with nest material.
The eggs, which are bluish white when first laid, but soon become nest-stained,
number 4 to 6 (occasionally up to 8 or 10). The incubation period is 20 to
25 days.
At the northernmost edge of its range the little grebe probably breeds
in scattered pairs and rears but one brood a season. Farther south, however,
two broods are reared, and a large colony is a lively place in midsummer,
for the females proceed with second nestings while males care for the
first broods. When the young are learning to fly they race back and forth
across an open stretch, beating their wings frantically until at last they
rise from the surface, flutter along a short way, and drop with a splash.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bird, G.C. “Notes of the Little Grebe,” British Birds , vol.27, pp.34-37.
1933. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-necked Grebe

28. Red-necked Grebe . A diving bird, Colymbus Colymbus grisegena grisegena , sometimes known
as the gray-cheeked grebe, which is probably the most northward ranging species
of its genus, family (Colymbidae), and order (Colymbiformes). It is found in
both the Old World and the New, and never leaves the Northern Hemisphere,
though it probably winters as far south as the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea
occasionally. Records for S p itsbergen, Greenland, Iceland, and the mouth of
the Kolyma River indicate that its breeding range may extend considerably
farther north than has been realized. Two subspecies are currently recognized —
grisegena , which breeds from northern Russia (about the White Sea), Sweden,
Finland, and western Siberia southward to France (casually), Holland (rarely),
Denmark, Germany, the Kirghiz Steppe, and the Caspian Sea; and holböllii, a
linger-billed and longer-winged but otherwise very similar form, which breeds
in eastern Siberia (Kamchatka birds are believed by some taxonomists to belong
to a third subspecies), the Komandorski Islands, the Kurils, Hokkaido, and
from northwestern Alaska eastward to the Mackenzie delta, northern Saskatchewan,
south central Manitoba, Hudson Strait, Labrador (probably), and southward to
the northern United States. The species probably breeds well to the northward
across the whole of Siberia, though it has apparently not been reported from
the Gulf of Ob or the Taimyr Peninsula. Buturlin recorded holböllii at the
mouth of the Kolyma River, though the bird may not have been breeding there;
and a specimen of holböllii in breeding plumage recorded by Artobolevskii
probably came from the “mouth of the Kolyma or … the north coast of the
Chuckche Peninsula” (see Pleske). The species is definitely migratory,
though it is occasionally recorded in winter along the southern edge of its
breeding range. In the Old World it winters south to the Mediterranean Sea,

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-necked Grebe

northern Africa, Persia, Turkistan, northern Iran, China, and Japan. In the
New World it winters principally along the coasts from southeastern Alaska to
California and from the Maritime Provinces to Georgia, but also, less commonly,
in the interior. It has been reported once from Southampton Island.
In summer the red-necked grebe is rather a striking bird. Its heavy,
straight, dark bill has a noticeably yellow base. Its head and neck are
boldly marked, the forehead, crown (including a tuft of long feathers, or
“horn,” at each side), and hindneck being black; the lower part (the cheeks,
chin, and throat) clear ashy gray, bordered above the white; the entire fore
neck and upper breast rich rufous . What shows of its body above water line
when it is swimming is dark gray, the white patch along the front of the wing
and that on the secondaries being concealed when the wing is folded. The belly
is light silvery gray, irregularly mottled with darker gray. The irides are
not red (though so colored in some illustrations) but are rich brown, with a
narrow, light-yellow peripheral ring. In winter the rufous of the foreneck
is replaced by white; the head-tufts or “horns” are lost; and the black plumage
of the crown, hindneck and upper part of the body is replaced by dark gray.
At this season the red-necked and great crested grebes are much alike, though
the red-necked is shorter-necked, stouter in build, and has no white superciliary
streak. Molting red-necked grebes sometimes present a curiously mixed appear–
ance when the red of the foreneck is veiled with white.
Along the northern edge of its breeding range the red-necked grebe is
believed to the noncolonial; but farther south several pairs frequently breed
together, the rather large and bulky nests being built up of such water plants
as are available. The birds are very shy. At the first sign of danger an in–
cubating bird hastily pulls part of the nest over the eggs, covering them as

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-necked Grebe

fully as possible in the time allowed; slips into the water headfirst; and
disappears, leaving scarcely a ripple. If the coast is clear, it may rise to
the surface and return with slow, sure strokes of its big feet and a forward
and backward movement of its serpentine head; but waiting submerged, with only
the head or part of the head above the surface, until all danger has passed,
is a common practice.
When first laid, the 3 to 6 (rarely 7 or 8) eggs are bluskh is bluish white, but
they soon become nest-stained and turn buff or brown. The incubation period
of eggs hatched in an incubator was 22 to 23 days (Bent). Both parents in–
cubate. But one brood is reared, though if the first set of eggs is destroyed
another is promptly laid. Unless the birds can find vegetation in which to
hide the nest such enemy species as the jaegers and ravens have little trouble
in finding the eggs, though nests are safe from most four-footed marauders.
The cries of the red-necked grebe have been described as “loonlike” —
which is adequate if the definition of loonlike is properly inclusive. A common
cry of the red-necked grebe on its nesting ground is a loud, wailing ah-ooo ,
repeated many times.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Artobolevskii, V.M. “Kornitofaune zemli Chukchei.” (Birds of the land of
the Chuckches.) Kiev. Universitet. Obshchestvo Estestvoispytatelei.
Zapiski…Mem. vol.27, no.1, p.37. 1926. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American diving birds,” U.S.Nat.Mus.
Bull . no.107, pp.9-20, and plate 44 (egg in color), 1919. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Buturlin, S.A. “Bemerkungen über die geographische Verbreitung der Vögel
im nordöstlichen Sibirien,” J.für Ornithol . vol.56, no.2, p.289,
Apr., 1908. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Pleske, Theodore. “Birds of the Eurasian tundra,” Boston Soc.Nat.Hist.
Mem . vol.6, no.3, p.355, Apr., 1928. </bibl> <bibl> 5. White, F.B. “Manners of Holboell’s Grebe in captivity,” Auk , vol.48,
pp.559-63, 1931. </bibl>

Procellariiformes (Albatrosses, Fulmars, Shearwaters, Petrels)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Albatrosses

ALBATROSSES, FULMARS, SHEARWATERS, PETRELS, AND THEIR ALLIES

Order PROCELLARIIFORMES
Family DIOMEDEIDEA, HYDROBATIDAE, PROCELLARIIDAE
30. Albatross. See writeup.
31. Atlantic Fulmar. A common name currently applied to Fulmarus glacialis
glacialis , the subspecies of fulmar or fulmar petrel inhabiting the
Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Sea north of the Atlantic. See Fulmar.
32. Black-browed Albatross. See writeup.
33. Black-footed Albatross. See writeup.
34. Black Hagdon or Hagdown. A name used among sailors and fishermen for
[: ] the sooty shearwater ( Puffinus griseus ) ( q.v. ).
35. British Storm Petrel. A name sometimes used for the storm or stormy
petrel ( Hydrobates pelagicus ) ( q.v. ).
36. Bulweria . See writeup.
37. Bulwer’s Petrel. See Writeup.
38. Common Shearwater. A general species name for Puffinus puffinus , the
best-known geographical race of which is called the Manx shearwater
( P. puffinus puffinus ) ( q.v. ).
39. Diomedae. See writeup.
40. DIOMEDEIDEA. See writeup.
41. Fork-tailed Petrel. See writeup.
42. Fulmar or Fulmar Petrel. See writeup.
43. Fulmarus. See writeup.
44. Goony. A name loosely applied by seamen and fishermen to certain large
oceanic birds, among them such procellariiform birds as the

EA-Orn. Sutton: Albatrosses, Fulmars, Shearwaters

albatrosses and larger shearwaters, and such pelecaniform birds as
the boobies and gannets.
45. Greater Shearwater. See writeup.
46. Hag, Hagdon, Hagdown, Haglet. A name used among fisherfolk and sailors
for various middle-sized procellariiform birds, especially the
shearwaters.
47. Hydrobates . See writeup.
48. HYDROBATIDAE. See writeup.
49. Leach’s Petrel. See writeup.
50. Manx Shearwater. See writeup.
51. Mallemuck. Variety of mollymauk ( q.v. ).
52. Mollymauk, Mollymawk, Mollymoke. See writeup.
53. Mother Carey’s Chicken. See writeup.
54. Muttonbird. A name applied more or less locally to certain procellari–
form birds which are used as food, especially to the sooty shearwater
( Puffinus griseus ) in New Zealand, and to the slender-billed or short–
tailed shearwater ( Puffinus tenuirostris ) in Bass Strait.
55. Oceanites . See writeup.
56. Oceanodroma . See writeup.
57. Pacific Fulmar. A common name currently applied to Fulmarus glacialis
rodgersii , the race of fulmar or fulmar petrel inhabiting the North
Pacific and Arctic oceans.
58. Pet r el. See writeup.
59. Pink-footed Shearwater. See writeup.
60. PROCELLARIIDAE. See writeup.
61. PROCELLARIIFORMES . See writeup.
62. Pterodroma. See writeup.
63. Puffinus . See writeup.
64. Scaled Petrel. See writeup.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Albatrosses

65. Shearwater. See writeup.
66. Short-tailed Albatross. See writeup.
67. Short-tailed Shearwater. A name sometimes applied to the slender-billed
shearwater ( Puffinus tenuirostris ) ( q.v. ).
68. Slender-billed Shearwater. See writeup.
69. Sooty Shearwater. See writeup.
70. Storm or Stormy Petrel. See writeup.
71. Whalebird. A name applied primarily to gregarious sea birds belonging to
the procellariiform genus Pachyptila (formerly known as Prion ) of
southern oceans, and characterized by their peculiar, broad laminate
[: ] bill. But the name whalebird is applied more or less locally in arctic
and subarctic regions to certain other water birds, especially the
slender-billed or short-tailed shearwater ( Puffinus tenuirostris ) and
sooty shearwater ( P. griseus ) in North Pacific waters; the ivory gull
( Pagophila eburnea ) in Greenland waters; the ruddy turnstone ( Arenaria
interpres morinella ) in Hudson Bay; and the red phalarope ( Phalaropus
fulicarius
) and northern phalarope ( Lobipes lobatus ) along the Labrador
coast.
72. Wilson’s Petrel. See writeup.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Albatross

30. Albatross . Any of several large oceanic birds belonging to the order
Procellariiformes and family Diomedeidae, and well known for their remarkable
powers of flight. The most famous of all albatrosses are the wandering ( Dio
medea exulans ) and royal ( D. epomophora ), both of which inhabit southern seas.
They are the largest sea birds known, as well as the largest of all flying
birds, providing largeness be considered a matter of wingspread rather than
of weight. The condors are heavier, but the albatrosses have the greater
wingspread.
The wandering and royal albatrosses are considerably the largest of the
albatrosses; but albatrosses in general are larger than their numerous allies,
the shearwaters, petrels, and Mother Carey’s chickens, the only other member
of the order approaching them in size being the giant petrel or giant fulmar
( Macronectes giganteus ). All albatrosses have strong, hooked bills; very long,
narrow wings; strong, webbed feet; and an odd smell. The tubes which enclose
the nostrils are widely separated by the ridge (culmen) of the bill. There are
13 species, most of which nest in the southern Hemisphere. Since they are
large they do not nest in burrows, as many of the shearwaters and petrels do,
but lay their single large egg in the open. Many pairs nest toge t her as a
rule. Male and female birds share the duties of incubation and of feeding
the young. The period of incubation is very long — as much as 60 days in
some species; and the fledging of the young requires several more weeks.
No albatross nests in arctic or subarctic regions, but the short-tailed
albatross )( Diomedea albatrus ), which is now a very rare bird, formerly ranged
northward into the Bering Sea when not breeding; the black-footed albatross
( D. nigripes ), which breed on certain North Pacific islands (northward to
about lat. 30° N.), is sometimes abundant off the Aleutians and the coast

EA-Orn. Sutton: Albatross

of Alaska; and several other albatrosses — notably the black-browed ( D. mela
nophris ), wandering ( D. exulans ), gray-headed ( D. chrysostoma ), and yellow–
nosed ( D. chlororhynchos ), wander irregularly into northern seas.
See Procellariiformes, Diomedeidae, Diomedea , Short-tailed Albatross,
and Black-footed Albatross.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexander, W.B. Birds of the Ocean . N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1938. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Knowlton, F.H., and Ridgway, Robert. Birds of the World . N.Y., Holt,
1909, pp.107-10. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Murphy, R.C. “Birds of the high seas,” Nat.Geogr.Mag . vol.74, pp.226-51,
1938. </bibl> <bibl> 4. - - - -. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of Natural
History, 1936. Vol.1. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Black-browed Albatross.

32. Black-browed Albatross . A large procellariiform bird, Diomedea
melanophris , which breeds (egg dates from September to December) on South
Georgia, the Falklands, Kerguelen, the Aucklands, Campbell, Ildefonso (off
Chile), and other far-southern islands; has been called the commonest al–
batross in the Southern Hemisphere; and wanders occasionally into northern
seas. It has been recorded off Sukkertoppen, Greenland ( by Hørring and Salo–
monsen), off Norway (Oslofjord), off England (Lynton), and at latitude
80°11′ N. and longitude 4° E. in the ocean northwest of Spitsbergen (Hartert).
For forty consecutive years a single black-browed albatross (presumably the
same bird year after year) revisited the gannet colony on the Faeroes (see
Andersen). In the opinion of Wynne-Edwards, this is the “longest survival
record we have for the Procellariiformes.”
The black-browed albatross is 32 to 34 inches long. Adults are white
on the head, neck, rump, upper tail coverts and under parts (including all
under wing coverts other than those at the edge), with a slaty streak through
the eye; slaty-black back and tail; and dark-brown upper wing surface. The
bill is yellow, with a black line around the base, and a rosy tip. The ffet
are yellowish or pinkish white, washed with pale blue at the joints and on
the webs (W. B. Alexander). In young birds the crown and back of the neck
are suffused with slaty, the under-wing coverts are dark, and the bill is
grayish black.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexander, W.B. Birds of the Ocean . N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1928. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Black-browed Albatross

<bibl> 2. Andersen, K. “ Diomedea melanophrys boende paa Faeroerne,” Vid. Medd .,
pp.241-64, 1894. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Cobb, A.F. Birds of the Faulkland Islands . Lond., Witherby, 1933, pp.13-15. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Hartert, Ernst. Die Vögel der Paläarktischen Fauna . Berlin, Friedländer,
1910-21. Vol.2, p.1442. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Hørring, Rich., and Finn Salomonsen. “Further records of rare or new Green–
land birds,” Medd.Grønland , vol.131, pp.59-60, 1941. </bibl> <bibl> 6. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936. Vol.2, pp.505-14. </bibl> <bibl> 7. Wynne-Edwards, V.C. “Intermittent breeding of the fulmar ( Fulmarus
glacialis (L.)), with some general observations on non-breeding
in sea-birds,” Zool.Soc.Lon. Proc . vol.109, ser. A, p.130, 1939. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Black-footed Albatross

33. Black-footed Albatross . A large albatross, Di o medea nigripes , believed
to inhabit the North Pacific exclusively. Among searing folk it is known as the
goony. It breeds on several widely separated islands, the most northward of
which are, apparently, Tori Shima in the Seven Islands of Izu (Izu Shichito)
and certain islands of the Volcano and Bonin group. When not breeding, it
ranges northward regularly as far as the Kurils and Aleutians, the southern
part of the Bering Sea, and Bristol Bay, Alaska. The southern limits of its
journeying have not been very well worked out. It may occasionally wander
south of the equator.
It is about the size of a barnyard goose (28 inches long). Adults are
sooty brown, darkest on the wings, scapulars, and tail, with more or less ex–
tensive white areas on the forehad and face, directly below the eyes, and on
the lower belly and under tail coverts. Young birds are similar, but have more
white on the crown and sides of the head, and the rump and upper tail coverts
are white, or white mottled with brown (Alexander). Both adult and young are
dark-billed and dark-footed. For differences between young black-footed and
young short-tailed albatrosses, see Short-tailed Albatross.
Various authors have discussed the black-footed albatross’ following of
vessels for food, but little has been reported in detail concerning its
“natural” food. Animal life is known to be exceedingly abundant in waters
just off the Aleutians, and the squids and pelagic crabs which have been
founds in black-footed albatross stomachs probably are among the food items
commonly eaten there.
On its breeding ground the black-footed albatross performs a strange court–
ship dance which the sailors call a “cake walk.” The pairs fence with their
bills, making thereby a whetting sound, bow, point their beaks straight upward,

EA-Orn. Sutton: Black-footed Albatross

clap their mandibles loudly, groan, and sometimes life their wings as they
prance about facing one another. The nest is a mere hollow in the sand,
without even a rim. There is but one egg, which is white, “boldly and
handsomely splasht with dark brownish red, in some forming a cap or wreath
about one end, usually the larger” (Richards). Both sexes incubate. The
incubation period is about six weeks. Fledging requires about six months.
While flying, all the albatrosses are usually silent. While quarreling
over food among themselves, however, black-footed albatrosses give a “whir–
ring groan.” On their nesting grounds they are vociferous at times. A char–
acteristic cry ends with “a sound like the stroke of a bell under water or
deep within the bird’s stomach” (Dill).
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexand d e r, W.B. Birds of the Ocean . N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1928, p.22. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.1-5, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Dill, H.R., and Bryan, W.A. Report of an Expedition to Laysan Island
in 1911 . Wash., G.P.O., 1912, p.17, U.S.Bur. of Biological
Survey. Bull . no.42. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Richards, T.W. “Nesting of Diomedea nigripes and D. immutabilis on
Midway Islands,” Condor , vol.11, pp.122-23, 1909. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Yocom, Charles. “Notes on behavior and abundance of the Black-footed
Albatrosses in the Pacific waters off the continental North
American shores,” Auk , vol.64, pp.507-23, 1947. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Bulweria

36. Bulweria . A genus of the petrel family (Procellariidae), very
closely related to Pterodroma , but considerably smaller than most species of
that genus and with proportionately smaller (weaker) feet and longer tail. The
nasal tubes are on top of the bill and the external openings of the nostrils
are two distinct round holes. There are two species, Bulweria bulwerii ,
which breeds on islands in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and wanders
occasionally into subarctic waters; and B. macgillivrayi , which is known only
from the type (from Ngau, Fiji Islands).
Bulweria appears to be a sort of connecting link between the Mother Carey’s
chickens or storm petrels (family Hydrobatidae) and the larger Petrels (family
Procellariidae). Its brownish-black color is very much like that of most Mother
Carey’s chickens, but it is larger than any species of that group and it differs
from them in having a long, cuneiform tail, small (weak) feet, and definitely
separated nostril openings.
See Bulwer’s Petrel.
37. Bulwer’s Petrel . A rather small species, Bulweria bulwerii , which
bears a strong superficial resemblance to the storm petrels or Mother Carey’s
chickens (family Hydrobatidae), but is somewhat larger than the largest of them
and different in that the nostril openings are well separated; the tail is rather
long and definitely cuneiform rather than square, slightly rounded, or forked;
and the feet are small and weak, the tarsus being only about as long as the toes.
It is 10 to 11 inches long and sooty black all over, somewhat paler and grayer
on the chin and greater wing coverts, but without a definite ruptive marking of
any sort. The bill is black, the feet flesh-colored, with black outer toe and
webs (Alexander).

EA-Orn. Sutton: Diomedea

Bulwer’s petrel is found in both the Atlantic and the Pacific. It breeds
on numerous islands and island-groups including the Bonins, Volcano Islands,
Marquesas and western Hawaiians, as well as the Azores, Cape Verdes, Canary
Islands, Salvages, and Madeira. According to Alexander ( Birds of the Ocean ,
1928, p. 43) it is rarely seen at sea. In its migrations it wanders occa–
sionally into subarctic waters. A specimen from Greenland is in the Leiden
Museum.
39. Diomedea . A genus of the Diomedeidae, or albatross family, consist–
ing of 11 species, several of which have from time to time been placed in other
genera currently considered synonyms of Diomedea . Two species are extremely
large (with winspread of 10 to 11 feet), the others being considerably smaller
but large in comparison with all other procellariiform birds except the giant
fulmar ( Macronectes giganteus ). The genus is characterized by squareness of
tail, the only other genus of the family, Phoebetria (sooty albatrosses), having
a wedge-shaped and proportionately much longer tail.
Of the eleven specie of Diomedea, eight nest exclusively in the Southern
Hemisphere, three in the Northern (North Pacific). No species inhabits the
North Atlantic today, but a fossil form, D. anglica , has been reported from the
lower Pliocene of Europe. No species migrates regularly into arctic waters,
but two of the three species which nest in the North Pacific — the short-tailed
( D. albatrus ) and the black-footed ( D. nigripes ) — wander more or less regularly
into the Bering Sea, possibly even beyond the Diomedes, when not breeding, and
several other species, including the black-browed ( D. melanophris ), wandering
( D. exulans ), yellow-nosed ( D. chlororhynchos ), and gray-headed ( D. chrysostoma ),
have been recorded from time to time in northern seas.
References:
<bibl> 1. Hartert, Ernst. “Types of birds in the Tring Museum. B. Types in general
collection. VII. (Turbinares.),” Novitates Zool . vol.33, no.3, pp.344-46, 1926. </bibl> <bibl> 2. ----. Die Vögel der Paläarktischen Fauna. Berling, Friedländer, 1910-21.
vol.2, pp.1438-43. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Murphy, R.D. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of Natural
History, 1936. vol.1, p.491. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Diomedea and Diomedeidae

BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
1. Hartert, Ernst. “Types of birds in the Tring Museum. B. Types in general
collection. VII. (Turbinares.),” Novitates Zool . vol.33, no.3,
pp.344-46, 1926.
2. ----. Die Vögel der Paläarktischen Fauna. Berling, Friedländer, 1910-21.
vol.2, pp.1438-43.
Murphy, R.D. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936. vol.1, p.491.
40. Diomedeidae . The procellariiform family of birds to which all the
albatrosses of the world belong. They are a comparatively uniform group of 13
species, all of which are large (28 to 40 inches long from tip of bill to tip
of tail), heavy billed (bill as long as head, or longer), very long winged, and
strong legged (the feet are webbed and there are but three toes). They are
unlike other procellariiform birds in that the nostril tubes are distinctly
separated by the ridge (culmen) of the bill. The wings are very narrow. One
of the largest albatrosses has a wingspread of 10 to 11 feet, yet the wing of
that species is only about 9 inches deep. The great wingspread, which results
from elongation of the inner wing bones (ulna and radius) demands an increase
in the number of secondary feathers, there being about 40 of these in an alba–
torss’ wing. All albatrosses stand upright and walk well, but they sometimes
have difficulty in[] rising in flight from land unless they can leap from [: ] a ledge
or run for some distance into the wind.
Two general are currently recognized — Diomedea , with 11 species and
Phoebetria , with 2 species. Diomedea has a proportionately short, squarish
tail, and is found in both the Northern and Southern Hemisphere; w h ile

EA-Orn. Sutton: Diomedeidae and Fork-tailed Petrel

Phoebetria has a proportionately longer, wedge-shaped tail, and is found
only in the Southern Hemisphere. The albatrosses are far from cosmopolitan
today, though they wander widely. There is no species either with a tropical
or with a North Atlantic habitat. A species of Diomedea has, however, been
reported from the Unterpliozän (lower Pliocene) of Europe (Lambrecht, 1933,
Handbuch der Palaeornithologie , Berlin, 1933, pp.273-274), so the range of
the family may have been more extensive in earlier times.
No albatross occurs regularly in arctic waters, though the short-tailed
albatross ( Diomedea albatrus ), which is now extremely rare, once bred on cer–
tain North Pacific islands (north to about lat. 30° N.), and when not nesting
wandered as far northward as the Komandorski Islands, the Diomedes, and the
coast of Alaska (Norton Sound); the black-footed albatross ( D. nigripes ),
which breeds on certain Pacific islands, wanders northward when not breeding
to Kamchatka, the Kurils and Aleutians, and the coast of Alaska; and the black–
browed albatross ( D. melanophris ) and yellow-nosed albatross ( D. chlororhynchos )
wander well northward occasionally, the former having been recorded off Green–
land, England, Norway, and Spitsbergen and for 40 consecutive years on the
Fareores; the latter off Maine and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. See PROCELLARII–
FORMES, Albatross, Diomedea , Short-tailed Albatross, Black-footed Albatross, and
Black-browed Albatross.
41. Fork-tailed Petrel . A small procellariiform bird, Oceanodroma furcata ,
of the North Pacific Ocean. It is one of the so-called Mother Carey’s chickens
(family Hydrobatidae). On Copper Island, in the Komandorski group, it is known
as the sturmofka . It is about 8 inches long, and is a beautiful pearl gray all
over save for the whitish edgings of the wing coverts, a small black area below
the eye, the white of the throat and under tail covers, [: ] and the grayish black

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fork-tailed Petrel

of the under wing coverts and axillary feathers. The tail, which is deeply
forked, is gray, darker toward the tip, and edged with white.
The fork-tailed petrel ranges northward to, and slightly beyond, the
Arctic Circle. It breeds on the Kuril, Komandorski, and Aleutian Islands
(east as far as Sanak), and along the North American mainland from extreme
southeastern Alaska to Washington, Oregon, and northern California. After
breeding it wanders northward through the Bering Sea, occasionally past
the Diomedes and into Kotzebue Sound, thus reaching latitudes much higher
than those regularly attained by the Wilson’s petrel ( Oceanites oceanicus )
in the North Atlantic (the northern limit for that species is about lat.
50° N.), and a little higher than those attained by the Leach’s petrel ( Ocean
odroma leucorhoa ) and storm petrel ( Hydrobates pelagicus ), both of which
breed on Vestmannaeyjar, off southern Iceland. The Leach’s petrel also
breeds in the North Pacific, almost side by side with the fork-tailed
petrel, but so far as is known it does not visit Kotzebue Sound.
The fork-tailed petrel nests in burrows on turfy, sloping ground on the
treeless Aleutians; among rocks on Copper Island in the Komandorskis; and
in the soil under huge firs and hemlocks on islands off southeastern Alaska.
Off the Oregon coast it nests on Arch Rocks. It breeds in June and July.
The single egg is white, sometimes wreathed with fine brown dots at the
larger end. Both sexes incubate. At is nesting colonies it is never evi–
dent by day unless dug from its burrow, but at night the air is filled with
the “soft twittering notes” of the birds as they leave their nests or return
from the sea.
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American [: ] petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.132-37, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Grinnell, Joseph. “Petrels of Alaska,” Nidologist, vol.4, p.76, 1897. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Stejneger, L.H. Results of Ornithological Explorations in the Commander
Islands and in Kamtschatka . Wash., G.P.O., 1885, pp.98-99.
U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.29. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Fork-tailed Petrel and Fulmar

BIBLIOGRAPHY
1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American [: ] petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.132-37, 1922.
2. Grinnell, Joseph. “Petrels of Alaska,” Nidologist, vol.4, p.76, 1897.
3. Stejneger, L.H. Results of Ornithological Explorations in the Commander
Islands and in Kamtschatka . Wash., G.P.O., 1885, pp.98-99.
U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.29.
42. Fulmar or Fulmar Petrel . A well-known procellariiform bird, Fulmarus
glacialis , found only in the Northern Hemisphere. Collett and Nansen reported
it from latitude 85°05′ N., “the most northerly point attained by any species
of birds” (Pleske). Darwin, in his Origin of Species considered the fulmar the
most abundant bird in the world. It is the only species of the entire order
Procellariiformes which nests regularly and commonly northward to and far beyond
the Arctic Circle. It is holarctic in distribution, but its breeding range is
far from continous, since it nests only on cliffs and the tops of high, rocky
islands or promontories close to the sea. It does not require borrows, deep fis–
sures, or crevices for its nesting, hence has established itself on bold-faced
headlands which are wholly without turf or vegetation It is well known to the
Eskimos, who call it the kakoodlook or kakordluk . According to Hantzsch, this
word means “poor (or dubious) white, on account of the soiled coloring.” On
the Komandorski Islands the bird is called the glupisch (Stejneger). In Scan–
dinavian countries it is known as the mallemuk , transfugl , stormfugl , and havhest ;
in Germany as the eissturmvogel . Off the coast of Massachusetts the fishermen
call it the Marbleheader, oilbird, noddy, and stinker. The last is a distant
equaivalent of the word fulmar itself, which is said to be a contraction of
foulmart (stinking marten, or pole cat).

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmar

The geographical races of the fulmar are currently recognized. The
nominate race, which is known as the Atlantic fulmar, breeds in the North At–
lantic and Arctic oceans from Devon Island, Baffin Island, [: ] and Greenland east–
ward to Iceland, the Faeroes and British Isles, the coast of Norway, Spits–
bergen, Bear Island, Jan Mayen, the Franz Josef Archipelago, Novaya Zemlya,
and Lonely Island ( u U edinenia) in the Kara Sea. Throughout this whole area
it is a familiar bird even in waters far removed from the breeding cliffs
proper. It has been seen irregularly at all seasons along the Murman coast
and Kanin Peninsula, and about Kolguev and Jan Mayen. In the New World it
has been seen in the Arctic Archipelago as far west as Banks Island (Nelson
Head and Cape Kellett), but no breeding colony has been discovered in that
area. Handley did not encounter it about Prince Patrick Island. The southern
limits of its breeding range are somewhat doubtful. There is a large colony
at Cape Searle on the east coast of Baffin Island, and the bird may nest on
the Buttons, at the eastern entrance to Hudson Strait. It has been seen in
summer well southward along the Labrador coast and off southern England. During
the last century it has increased its breeding range widely. It established
itself on the Faeroes between 1816 and 1839. Before 1878 it was not known to
nest anywhere about the British Isles except on St. Kilda. In Norway it was
first recorded as a breeding species in 1924 (see Fisher and Waterston). It
winters from the northern limit of open water off northern Labrador, east–
central Greenland, Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, and northern Norway to the Grand
Banks of Newfoundland, Georges Bank off Massachusetts, and the north coast
of France.
The Pacific fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis rodgersii ) nests on the coasts

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmar

of Kamchatka and eastern Siberia; on the Kuril and Komandorski Islands; on
Wrangel Island and Herald Island in the Arctic Sea; on St. Matthew, St. Law–
rence, Hall, and the Pribilofs in the Bering Sea; on the Semidi and Seal
Islands, respectively, to the south and north of the Alaska Peninsula; and
on Chagulak in the Aleutian Chain. No race of fulmar nests on Preobnazhnie
(now Begichev) Island or on the “gull rocks” of the New Siberian Archipelago
(Pleske). The Pacific fulmar winters from the Aleutians south to Sakhalin,
Japan, and Baja California.
The fulmar is a good-sized, chunky, somewhat gull-like bird about 20
inches long. It has two color phases, a light and a dark (or a “white” and
a gray). Gray birds are not nearly so common as “white” ones as a rule. The
incidence of gray birds is said to be much higher on the American side of the
North Atlantic than on the European, but even where they are commonest they
“probably make up not more than one in twenty of the whole population” ( [: ] Murphy ).
Light-phased birds are white on the head, neck and under parts (including the
under-wing coverts), and pearl gray on the mantle, rump, upper-tail coverts
and tail, with a small dusky spot in front of the eye, and a pale spot on the
upper surface of the wing toward the tip. Dark-phased birds are ashy gray all
over. Some gray birds are noticeably darker than others and between the dark–
est gray birds and the palest “white” ones there is every conceivable stage of
intermediacy. In dark birds the bill is dusky, sometimes tinged with bluish-,
greenish-, or yellowish-gray. In light birds it is dull yellow, washed with
blue at the base of the upper mandible and with black on the nostril tubes.
The feet are pale flesh color or grayish flesh, the eyes dark brown, almost
black.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmar

In flight the fulmar is quite dinstinctive. When gliding, it holds its
wings rather stiffly, almost exactly at right angles to the vertical axis of
the body, and the wings, back, rump, and tail in almost exactly the same
plane, with the top of the head definitely above that plane (see photographs
in British Birds 8: 230 and 232). It moves forward steadily in a series of
smooth glides which are punctuated with three to five slow wing beats. In
high wind it may rise suddenly and shoot off to one side with amazing speed.
At times it barely skims the waves, with one wing almost touching the water,
the other well above it, as if the air pressure between the moving water and
the moving bird actually held it in position without the slightest effort on
the part of the bird. Its flight, even when the wings are flapping, seems to
be quite noiseless. This is probably the result of the softness of the feather
edges.
The fulmar is, like most procellariiform birds aside from the albatrosses,
plantigrade. In alighting at its nest it waddles and shuffles about until it
reaches and covers the egg. Alighting on the ice, it promptly sinks to its
belly, or shifts about until it finds a comfortable spot, and squats. In leav–
ing the nest, it usually has but to rise and push itself from the ledge with
wings spread; from the ice it rises momentarily to its toes and springs di–
rectly, if a trible awkwardly, into flight. In some respects its behavior
is very different from that of its relative at the opposite end of the world —
the giant fulmar ( Macronectes giganteus ), which is not only much larger, but
also very strong-legged and strictly digitigrade.
Fulmars are famous for their voracity. William Macgillivray, in his
History of British Birds (1852), gives a vivid account of the behavior of
the gluttonous birds about a whaling vessel. I have myself watched great

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmar

numbers of them as they hungrily followed our ship along the Labrador coast
and in Hudson Strait. In 1926, when returning from Cape Wolstenhome in a
schooner which had lost its propeller, hence was proceeding wholly under
sail, I made good use of my time in collecting and skinning fulmars. We
picked the birds from the water with long-handled scoop-nets. The hold, in
which I did my skinning, my stateroom (such as it was), my clothes, my com–
panions, in fact the whole schooner, stank of fulmar for weeks the quiet
beauty of the birds as they wheeled about the vessel never failed to impress
me. Almost never did I hear a vocal sound from them, or a rustle from their
wings.
The fulmar is a silent bird much of the time, but the noise of a feeding
flock can be “almost deafening” (Morris). Collins has described the note as
a “chuckling sound somewhat resembling a low grunt.”
The fulmar may make a slight nest out of moss or grass, but usually it
lays its single egg on the bare rock or earth. The egg is white, often nest–
stained, and rather rough-shelled. Nesting sometimes starts so early that the
eggs are laid directly on the ice. Pleske states that in the Far North egg–
laying probably takes place “about the end of May or in the first days of
June.” Both the male and female incubate. The period of incubation has been
estimated at 6 to 8 weeks or even 60 days (Witherby). The newly hatched young
is covered with thick, long white down which clings to the incoming feathers
in a sort of mat until the bird has reached almost full size. The young bird
is fed on regurgitated food, at least part of which is an amber-colored,
malodorous, oily fluid. Wynne-Edwards has expressed belief that the fulmar
does not breed annually. On Jan Mayen, where the species breed in great num–
bers and is comparatively nonmigratory, it feeds on shrimps ( Hymenodora ),

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmar

small cuttle fish, sand eels ( Ammodytes ), and a clupeoid fish. On this island
the fulmar is the sole food of the arctic fox (see G. C. and E. G. Bird).
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.31-46, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bird, G.C., and Bird, E.G. “The birds of Jan Mayen Island,” Ibis , ser.13,
vol.5, p.846, 1935. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Collett, Robert, and Nansen, Fridtjof. “An account of the birds,” Nansen,
Fridtjof, ed. The Norwegian North Polar Expedition 1893-1896 .
Scientific Results . Lond., N.Y., Longmans, Green, 1900, vol.1,
no.4, p.50. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Darling, F.F. Wild Country . Cambridge, Eng, University Press, 1938,
pp.11-19. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Fisher, James, and Waterston, George. “The breeding distribution, history
and population of the fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis ) in the British
Isles,” J.Animal Ecol . vol.10 no.2, pp.204-72, Nov., 1941. </bibl> <bibl> 6. Hantzsch, Bernard. “Contribution to the knowledge of the avifauna of north–
eastern Labrador,” Canad.Field Nat . vol.42, p.172, Oct., 1928. </bibl> <bibl> 7. Koenig, A.F. Avifauna Spitzbergensis . Bonn, Druck von W. Büxenstein, 1911,
pp.204-206. </bibl> <bibl> 8. Kumlien, Ludwig. “Contributions to the natural history of arctic America,
made in connection with the Howgate Polar Expedition, 1877-78,”
U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.15, pp.101-102, 1879. </bibl> <bibl> 9. Macgillivray, William. History of British Birds . London, 1837-52. 5 vol. </bibl> <bibl> 10. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936. 2 vol. </bibl> <bibl> 11. Pike, O.B. “Notes on the habits of the Fulmar Petrel,” British Birds , vol.8,
pp.230, 232, June, 1914-May, 1915. </bibl> <bibl> 12. Pleske, Theodore. “Birds of the Eurasian tundra,” Boston Soc.Nat.Hist. Mem .
vol.6, no.3, pp.107-485, Apr., 1928. </bibl> <bibl> 13. Stejneger, L.H. Results of Ornithological Explorations in the Commander
Islands and in Kamtschatka. Wash., G.P.O., 1885, p.95. U.S.Nat.Mus.
Bull . no.29. </bibl> <bibl> 14. Witherby, H.F. Handbook of British Birds . London, Witherby, 1942, vol.2, p.445. </bibl> <bibl> 15. Wynne-Edwards, V.C. “Intermittent breeding of the fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis
(L.)), with some general observations on non-breeding in sea-birds,”
Zool.Soc.Lond. Proc . vol.109, ser.A, pp.127-32, 1939. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmar

43. Fulmarus . A monotypic genus of the family Procellariidae (petrels)
found only in the Northern Hemisphere, yet morphologically similar to the mono–
typic genera Macronectes (giant fulmar or giant petrel), Daption (Cape Pigeon
or p [: ] tado petrel), Priocella (silver-gray fulmar), and Halobaena (blue petrel) of the
Southern Hemisphere. It is the only genus of the entire order Procellariiformes
which is known to breed northward to and well beyond the Arctic Circle. A fossil
Fulmarus has been reported from the Miocene of Maryland (Wetmore) and Fulmarus
glacialis has been reported from the Pleistocene of California.
Fulmarus is a rather large gull-like bird with slightly rounded tail of
14 rectrices; a compressed, thin, short tarsus (shorter than the toes); and
nostrils in a high tube on top of the bill, but divided at the opening by a thin
membrane. The bill is short and wide at the base, much compressed at the tip,
the upper mandible being strongly hooked, the lower rounded to fit along the cut–
ting edge, but sharply angled below at the tip, possibly to add to the structure’s
rigidity and pulling power.
In coloration the genus is curiously variable — some adults being white
throughout the head and under parts, gray otherwise; others being gray all over;
others showing every possible stage of intermediacy between the two. Wholly
white birds, which are rare, may be albinos.
The genus is holarctic in distribution. It breeds on some of the most
northern land, including north Greenland, Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, the Franz Josef
Archipelago, and Novaya Zemlya, but its breeding range is highly discontin u ous,
for it does not nest along flat coa s ts. In winter it has been recorded in the
Atlantic as far south as latitu t de 43° N., and in the Pacific as far south as
about latitude 30° N. (see Peters).
See Fulmar Petrel.
References:
<bibl> 1. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1, p.47. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Wetmore, Alexander. “Observations on fossil birds described from the Miocene
of Maryland,” Auk , vol.43, pp.464-65, Oct., 1926. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Fulmarus and Greater Shearwater

BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
1. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1, p.47.
2. Wetmore, Alexander. “Ob s ervations on fossil birds described from the Mio–
cene of Maryland,” Auk , vol.43, pp.464-65, Oct., 1926.
45. Greater Shearwater . A rather large procellariiform bird, Puffinus
gravis
, which breeds in the South Atlantic but migrates regularly to the North
Atlantic during the northern summer. A l m ong Labrador “liveyers” it is commonly
called the hag, hagdon, or hagdown. Although it does not wander north of the
Arctic Circle, it is sometimes exceedingly common just south of the Circle,
especially off the coast of south Greenland, along the Labrador coast, and on
the Grand Banks off Newfoundland. Its abundance off the coast of South Caro–
lina was dramatically attested during the hurricane of August 26-27, 1893, when
“countless numbers” were found dead along the beach of Long Island, near Sulli–
van’s Island (Wayne). The species was originally described from a specimen ob–
tained not far from Cape Farewell, Greenland (O’Reilly). The sailors of
O’Reilly’s vessel called the bird the Cape hen.
In migrating from its South Atlantic breeding ground, the greater shear–
water crosses the tropics with great rapidity, presumably because of the
scarcity of food there. It moves northward through the western half of the
North Atlantic, spreading out when it reaches the 45th parallel, reaching Davis
Strait in early June, and appearing off the east coast of south Greenland at
about the same time. It moves farther eastward as summer advances, at the same
time becoming more and more common at high latitudes. In the first two weeks
of August it passes east of a line between Ireland and the Azores (Wynne-Edwards).

EA-Orn. Sutton: Greater Shearwater

The greater shearwater is 18 to 21 inches long with a bill about 2 to 2-1/2
inches long (measuring base to tip diagonally along the clumen). It is brown
above, darker on the wings and tail, and still darker on the top of the head.
The white of the foreneck almost forms a collar, and the longer upper coverts
are tipped with white, forming a patch or bar. The lower half of the head and
the under parts are white, save for the lower belly and middle under-tail
coverts, which are sooty brown. The under-wing coverts are white flecked with
brown. The bill is dark horn color. The feet are dull bronish gray (lighter
on the inner surface of the tarsus) with flesh-colored webs.
In the water the greater shearwater is a rather sluggish bird, given to
sleeping after it has eaten heavily. In rising from the surface it faces the
wind, and if there is no wind it flaps rather ponderously while paddling alter–
nately with its feet. In full flight it is the very embodiment of grace —
especially in a storm when, soaring swiftly up the side of a mountainous
wave, it barely misses the white, wind-torn crest, and slips effortlessly down
into the yawning trough. It is possessed of a ravenous appetite and sometimes
eats so much that it cannot rise from the water without vomiting. Occasionally,
when a vessel bears down, it seeks escape through diving. It dives rather
well, and even swims under water.
It nests on certain islands of the Tristan da Cunha group, laying a single
white egg in burrows which it digs on hillsides. The height of the egg-laying
season is November. Both sexes incubate the egg and care for the young. On
May 21, 1922 Sir Hubert Wilkins found this shearwater on Nightingale and In–
accessible. Between 10 A.M. and 5 A.M. very few birds were in evidence, but
at night they flocked in by the hundred. A few, which croaked as they lay in
their burrows, were captured. The sex organs of these specimens were not

EA-Orn. Sutton: Greater Shearwater

enlarged, and Wilkins found no eggs in the burrows. As Murphy points out,
May 21 is close to the average date of arrival for the species off the At–
lantic coast of the United States.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.65-71, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Brockhuysen, G.J. “Observations on the Great Shearwater in the breeding-season,
British Birds , vol.41, pp.338-41, 1948. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936. Vol.2, pp.660-64. </bibl> <bibl> 4. O’Reilly, Bernard. Greenland, the Adjacent Seas, and the North-West
Passage to the Pacific Ocean . Lond., Baldwin, Craddock and
Joy, 1818, pp.140-41, and plate 12. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Wayne, A.T. “Effect of the great cyclone of August 26-27 upon certain
[: ] species of birds,” Auk , vol.11, p.85, Jan., 1894. </bibl> <bibl> 6. Wilk e i ns, G.H. “Report on the birds collected during the voyage of the
‘Quest’ (Shackleton-Rowett Expedition) to the southern
Atlantic,” Ibis , ser.11, vol.5, no.3, p.499, July, 1923. </bibl> <bibl> 7. Wynne-Edwards, V.C. “On the habits and distribution of birds of the north
Atlantic,” Boston Soc.Nat.Hist. Proc . vol.40, p.255, 1935. </bibl>
# # # # #
47. Hydrobates . The monotypic procellariiform genus to which the true
storm or stormy petrel ( H. pelagicus ) belongs. It is most closely related to
Oceanodroma , but the tail is square or slightly rounded (rather than forked)
and slightly less than half (rather than more than half) as long as the wing.
The tarsus is only a little longer than the middle toe with its claw. Accord–
ing to some authors, the tarsus is “divided into scutes” in front; but this
probably is not a very strong character, for the scales, while proportionately

EA-Orn. Sutton: Hydrobates and Hydrobatidae

(if not actually) larger than in Oceanodroma , are less distinct, and the gen–
eral effect they create is, as in Oceanodroma , of reticulation rather than
scutellation.
The down-covered chick of Hydrobates has a bald spot on its crown. This
may be a valid generic character. The genus ranges throughout the eastern
North Atlantic, breeding locally from islands of the western Mediterranean
northward to small islands off the British Isles, the coast of Norway (Lofo–
ten), and southern Iceland (Vestmann Islands), and ranging, when not breeding,
westward to waters off the coasts of Nova Scotia, Labrador, and (occasion–
ally) Greenland; eastward to the Red Sea; and southward to the coasts of
tropical western Africa.
See Storm or Stormy Petrel, Mother Carey’s Chicken and Hydrobatidae.
48. Hydrobatidae . The procellariiform family to which the storm petrels,
or Mother Carey’s chickens, belong. They are a fairly uniform group of small,
web-footed, long-winged oceanic birds with sooty black, balck-and white, or
gray-and-white plumage. They differ from other members of the order Procellari–
iformes (a) structurally, in that the external opening of the nostrils is in
a single tube on top of the bill; and (b) in behavior, in that they have a
swallow-like, fluttering flight. Almost invariably they feed awing, and
they use their feet so much that they appear to be running on the water.
The family Hydrobatidae (subfamily Hydrobatinae of some authors) is a
group of about 25 species belonging to the general Oceanites, Pelagodroma ,
Nesofregetta, Garrodia, Hydrobates, Oceanodroma , and Halocyptena . So diverse
is the year-round distribution of these birds that the family as a whole
cannot be called “southern,” or “northern,” or “tropical.” Some species
seem to be restricted to ocean areas throughout which the physical

EA-Orn. Sutton: Hydrobatidae

characteristics of the surface water are the same; but other range over
waters which must vary greatly. Thus the Wilson’s petrel ( Oceanites oceani
cus ) nests in the Antarctic — even on the Antarctic continent itself — and
travels annually northward across the tropics to subarctic seas. Several
species are confined to waters off the west coast of the New World. One
species, the stormy petrel ( Hydrobates pelagicus ), is principal o l y an eastern
North Atlantic bird, but when not nesting it wanders to the Red Sea and the
coasts of tropical West Africa.
The storm petrels have similar nesting habits. All of them lay their
single egg in a burrow. Males and r f emales are believed to share the duties
of incubation, but it has been pointed out (a) that males have been taken
on the nest more frequently than females and (b) that the brood patch is
larger or more definite in males than in females, so the male may assume
most of these domestic duties. The period of incubation is very long —
38 to 40 days in Hydrobates pelagicus (stormy petrel) and 39 to 48 days in
Oceanites oceanicus (Wilson’s petrel) — and fledging of the young requires
several weeks more. The newly hatched young is covered with extremely dense,
soft down, some of which adheres to the tips of the incoming firm plumage
until the very eve of departure from the burrow.
No member of the Hydrobatidae is exclusively northern in distribution
as is the fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis ), but four species are arctic in a
limited sense — the stormy petrel, which nests in the eastern North Atlantic
as far north as south Iceland; the Leach’s petrel ( Oceanodroma leucorhoa ),
which nests northward to the Kurils, Komandorskis, Aleutians, and coasts of
Alaska in the Pacific, and to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, southern Greenland,

EA-Orn. Sutton: Hydrobatidae and Leach’s Petrel

south Iceland, and the Faeroes in the Atlantic; the wide-ranging Wilson’s
petrel, which breeds in antarctic regions and migrates northward to subarctic
waters; and the fork-tailed petrel ( Oceanodroma furcata ), which nests on the
Komandorski and Aleutians Island and along the west coast of North America
from southern Alaska to northern California and after breeding wanders north–
ward, some individuals moving through Bering Strait into Kotzbue Sound.
See Hydrobates , Oceanites , Oceanodroma , Stormy Petrel, Leach’s Petrel,
Wilson’s Petrel, Fork-tailed Petrel, and Mother Carey’s Chicken.
49. Leach’s Petrel . A small procellariiform bird, Oceanodroma leucorhoa ,
belonging to the family Hydrobatidae (storm petrels or Mother Carey’s chickens).
It [: ] is about eight inches long, and is sooty brown all over save for the boldly
white upper tail coverts, grayish brown wing coverts, and a few white feathers
on the flanks. The tail is deeply forked . The wings are noticeably longer
than those of the stormy petrel ( Hydrobates pelagicus ) and Wilson’s petrel
( Oceanites oceanicus ), and the white of the upper tail coverts does not form
a triangular or square white patch, because the dark middle feathers almost
divide it. The flight of these three Mother Carey’s chickens is quite differ–
ent. That of the stormy petrel has been described as “batlike”; that of
Wilson’s petrel as “swallow-like”; that of Leach’s petrel as “night jar-like.”
Leach’s petrel has a very wide range. It breeds in the North Pacific
and North Atlantic and migrates southward to the coasts of Japan, Mexico,
Brazil, and Sierra Leone (occasionally to the Galapagos and the Cape of Good
Hope). It breeds northward to the Kur i ls, Komandorskis, Aleutians, Newfound–
land, southern Labrador, southern Greenland, southern Iceland, the Faeroes,
and the British Isles. It nests from May to August (and probably later), lay–
ing its single egg in a burrow in the turf. Murphy has called attention to

EA - Orn. Sutton: Leach’s Petrel

the remarkable state of affairs which exists among the petrels of the Newfound–
land and New England costs in June and July. There the nonbreeding Wilson’s
petrel, whose nesting ground is thousands of miles to the south, flutters
about in the bays and coves for all to see, while the Leach’s petrel, which
is nesting by the thousands in the immediate vicinity, is never seen at all
because it comes and goes wholly under cover of night!
The nest burrow is excavated entirely by the male. It is about 3 feet
long and may extend as much as 16 inches below ground. When the females come
to the breeding ground at night the males call from the burrows, and the
females answer from the air; the birds are attracted to each other, and copula–
tion finally takes place. The egg is white, sometimes wreathed at the larger
end with fine brown dots. Both sexes incubate. The incubation period is 42
to perhaps 50 days, and fledging requires 6 to 7 weeks more (Gross). Several
interesting accounts have been written of the noctural activities of the birds
on their nesting grounds. Audubon described the call note of the incubating
bird as a gentle peur-wit . Frank M. Chapman heard at Bird Rock “a distinctly
enunciated call of eight notes with a certain crowing quality.” The cry o f
the flying bird has been imitated as Got any terbacker ? or as Johnny get your
hair cut . If a nest burrow is opened by day the incubating bird makes no at–
tempt to fly off, but scrambles about trying to find a dark place in which to
hide. It is gentle if handled, but may eject foul-smelling stomach oil from
its mouth.
Interesting experiments concerning the homing instincts have been per–
formed on Leach’s petrels capture in their nest burrows on outer islands of
the Bay of Fundy. “A large percentage of the birds returned from distances
up to 360 miles from the nearest land and 470 miles from their nests” (Griffin).

EA-Orn. Sutton: Leach’s Petrel

Five races of Leach’s petrel are currently recognized. The nominate
race breeds in Japan (Hokkaido), the Kurils, Copper Island in the Komandor–
skis, certain of the Aleutians, and in the North Atlantic north to southern
Iceland and southern Greenland and south to Maine (Massachusetts possibly)
and the British Isles. The other races, which differ from each other in
minor details, nest on islands off the Pacific coast of North America —
beali from southeastern Alaska south to the Farralon Islands off San Francisco
Bay, California; willetti on the Los Coronados; chapmani on the San Benitos;
and socorroensis on Guadalupe.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Ainslie, J.A., and Atkinson, Robert. “On the breeding habits of Leach’s
Fork-tailed Petrel,” British Birds , vol.30, pp.234-48,
276-77, 1937. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Brown, F.A. “Machias Seal Islands,” Bird-Lore , vol.13, p.239, 1911. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Chapman, F.M. Handbook of Birds of Eastern North America . N.Y., Apple–
ton, 1912, p.177. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Griffin, D.R. “Homing experiments with Leach’s petrels,” Auk , vol.57,
p.73, Jan., 1940. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Gross, W.A.O. “The life history cycle of Leach’s Petrel ( Oceanodroma
leucorghoa leucorhoa ) on the outer islands of the Bay of
Fundy,” Ibid . vol.52, pp.382-99, 1935. </bibl> <bibl> 6. Murphy, R.C. “Birds of the high seas,” Nat.Geogr.Mag . vol.74, p.228, 1938. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Manx Shearwater.

50. Manx Shearwater . A middle-sized procellariiform bird, Puffinus
puffinus , so called because it formerly bred on the Isle of Man. It is known
also as the common shearwater. It is primarily a bird of the eastern North
Atlantic and medi g t erranean Sea. The nominate race breeds on the Azores,
Madeira, the Salvages, the Bermudas, the coast of Brittany, the British Isles,
the Faeroes, and Vestmann Islands (just south of Iceland). An eastern Medit–
erranean race ( P. puffinus yelkouan ) breeds on islands in the Aegean. A
western Mediterranean race ( P. Puffinus mauretanicus ) breeds probably on the
Balearic Isles and the coasts of Sardinia and Corsica (Peters).
The Manx shearwater is smaller than the greater shearwater ( P. gravis P. gravis ),
but rather like it in color and pattern. It is 14 to 15 inches long (with
bill 1-1/2 to about 2 inches long), and is, generally speaking, blackish
brown above and white below. The sides of the head and neck are mottled with
brownish gray, the dividing line between the dark upper part of the head and
the white of the checks and throat being less definite than in gravis . The
outer under tail coverts are dark. The under wings are white, though the
axillary feathers have dark tips. The bill is black, bluish gray at the base.
The feet are pinkish flesh color on the inner surface (tarsus and toes),
brownish black on the outer, and gray-blue on the webs (Alexander).
This shearwater has been very carefully studied by R. M. Lockley on
the little island of Skokholm, well off the coast of Pembrokeshire. Here
more than 5,000 pairs nest, using burrows beneath the heather, bracken, and
grass. The species is resident on the island about eight months of the year
(mid-February to mid-October) and migrating at sea for the other four months.
On returning in the spring, the birds, which evidently mate for life, make

EA-Orn. Sutton: Manx Shearwater

their way directly to their own burrows. Since some burrows cave in during
the winter and many young birds are in need of nesting places for the first
time, there is sharp competition. Two pairs sometimes occupy a burrow to–
gether for a time; but the pair which first produces an egg usually keeps
the burrow for the season. The single egg is white and smooth shelled.
The nest proper varies according to the material which is available close
by the burrow’s entrance. Both sexes incubate and care for the young.
Lockley found that the birds gathered at sea, some miles out from the
island, in the afternoon well before their evening return. Here they
preened, rested, and bathed. About two hours after sunset (earlier in
rainy weather) they flew in, each going promptly to its own burrow. If,
on alighting, it was not greeted by the cries of its mate, it waited until
the other arrived, whereupon the two birds caressed each other, wrestled,
called to each other, and entered the burrow. Incubating birds sometimes
remained in the burrows for days at a stretch.
The incubation period if 52 to 54 days. The chick is down-covered.
When it is 16 days old a second down sprouts. This down reaches full growth
on the 35th day. By the 42nd day the quills begin to project from their
sheaths. When the young bird is about 60 days old it is full-feath e red but
still more or less down-covered. At this time the parents, which have under–
gone their own postnuptial molt during the long fledging period, desert the
nest entirely. The young bird stays in the burrow for several days, living
on stored fat, then makes its way out to sea by itself. If the wind is
favorable and luck is with it, its first flight may carry it to water, where
it is instantly at home. But many a young shearwater which has to scramble
seaward by stages falls victim to a hawk, gull or crow.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Manx Shearwater and Mollymauk

One of Lockley’s interesting findings was that the shearwaters were much
more at ease, so to speak, during stormy weather than in calm weather. The
wind permitted them to approach the burrows slowly and to make good landings.
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexander, W.B. Birds of the Ocean . N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1928, pp.43-44. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Lockley, R.M. “Further notes on the breeding-habits of the Manx Shearwater,”
British Birds , vol.24, pp.202-07, 1931. </bibl> <bibl> 3. - - - -. “On the breeding-habits of the Manx Shearwater, with special
reference to its incubation- and fledging-periods,” Ibid ,
vol.23, pp. 202-18, 1930. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931. Vol. 1, p. 57. </bibl>
52. Mollymauk . A name widely used among seamen for various procellarii–
form birds, especially albatrosses in brown or piebald subadult plumage stages;
shearwaters and larger petrels of various sorts; and the fulmar ( Fulmarus
glacialis ) of northern seas. The word is often spelled (and pronounced)
mollymoke. W.B. Alexander, in his Birds of the Ocean (1928, p. 5) states
that mollymauk “is a corruption of the Dutch ‘Mallemuck,’ derived from ‘mal’
(foolish) and ‘mok’ (gull).” Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary lists mallemuck
(not mollymauk ), stating that the Dutch nouns mallemoke and malmoke (meaning
“companion to a harpooner”) were derived from the Eskimo verb mallikpok ,
meaning “to follow.” The Eskimo name for the fulmar, kakoodlook , or an
equivalent, obviously bears no resemblance to the word mollymauk .

EA-Orn. Sutton: [: ] Mother Carey’s Chicken

53. Mother Carey’s Chicken . A widely used common name for any of sev–
eral small, web-footed oceanic birds belonging to the order Procellariiformes
and family Hydrobatidae (or subfamily Hydrobatinae) and known in scientific
circles as the storm petrels. They are fairly uniform as a group, being about
6 to 10 inches long and sooty black, black-and-white, or gray-and-white in
color. There are about 25 species, belonging to 8 genera. Their flight is
graceful and swallowlike, and they customarily feed awing, using their feet
a great deal as they flutter and pitter-patter along the surface. They are
creatures of the high seas, and at times seem to be especially abundant in
stormy weather, when their ability to keep out of the wind in the troughs
between the waves, and their apparent enjoyment of the tempest, are truly
amazing. One of the funniest sights in mid-ocean is the “embarrassment” of
two Mother Carey’s chickens which, in passing over the crest of a wave from
a trough at either side, happen to meet and collide.
The term “Mother Carey’s Chicken” may, according to Robert C. Murphy,
“have a medieval religious origin. The name of this vague demigoddess — no
doubt the wife of Davy Jones — has been traced by some to prayers addressed
by storm-tossed Mediterranean sailors to the Virgin, the mater cara , or ‘dear
Mother’” (“Birds of the high seas,” Natl. Geog. Mag . 1938, 74: 234).
See Hydrobatidae, Petrel, Storm Petrel, Leach’s Petrel, Wilson’s Petrel,
Fork-tailed Petrel, Oceanites , Oceanodroma and Hydrobates .
55. Oceanites . A procellariiform genus composed of two species of small
storm petrels, or Mother Carey’s chickens. Oceanites is similar to Hydrobates
and Oceanodroma in general appearance, but the legs are longer, the tarsus
being much longer than the middle toe and its claw; and the webbing between
the toes is yellow. The two species are: O. gracilis , Elliot’s petrel, one

EA-Orn. Sutton: Oceanites and Oceanodroma

race of which breeds on the Galapagos Islands, the other presumably on
islands off the coast of Chile, Peru, or Ecuador; and O. oceanicus , Wilson’s
petrel, which breeds on South Georgia, the South Orkneys, the South Shet–
lands, Kerguelen, Tierra del Fuego, the Falklands, and various islands and
coasts of Antarctica. The year-round wanderings of this bird take it to
subarctic waters in the North Atlantic, but in other oceans it does not, so
far as is known, wander north of the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, New Guinea,
and littoral waters off northern Peru (Roberts).
See Wilson’s Petrel.
56. Oceanodroma . A genus of small petrels or Mother Carey’s chickens
(family Hydrobatidae) characterized as follows: the tarsus is short (not
longer than the middle toe and its claw); and the tail is forked and much
more than half as long as the wing. Oceanodroma is similar to Hydrobates
but larger, and fork-tailed rather than square-tailed. It also resembles
Oceanites , which is comparatively square-tailed and has a much longer tarsus.
There is considerable range of pattern within the genus, some forms being
wholly black; others black and white; one a beautiful pearl gray; and one
brownish gray above, white below, with a dark band across the breast and a
white collar.
Some twenty forms (11 species, the rest subspecies) are currently recog–
nized, several of which breed wholly in the Northern Hemisphere, some both to
the north and to the south of the equator; and at least one wholly in the
Southern Hemisphere. The g G alapagos storm petrel ( O. tethys ) breeds on the
Galapagos Islands and islands off the coast of Peru. The Madeira petrel
( O. castro ) breeds on several North Atlantic islands, as well as on St.
Helena, the Hawaiians, and the Galapagos. The Guadalupe petrel, ( O. macro
dactyla ), which formerly bred on Guadalupe Island, is now probably extinct.
Hornby’s petrel ( O. hornbyi ) breeds in the Chilean Andes.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Oceanodroma and Petrel

Only two of the 11 species breed in subarctic regions — the Leach’s
petrel ( O. leucorhoa ) and the fork-tailed petrel ( O. furcata ). Several races
of Leach’s petrel have been described, the northernmost of which, O. leucorhoa
leucorhoa , breeds both in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific, as far
north as the Kurils, Komandorskis, Aleutians (Attu, Amchitka, and Kiska),
southern Alaska, Newfoundland, southern Labrador, southern Greenland, southern
Iceland, the Faeroes, and the British Isles, and winters southward to the
coasts of Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Sierra Leone, and occasionally to the Galapagos
and the Cape of Good Hope (Alexander, Birds of the Ocean , 1928, p.84).
The fork-tailed petrel is a bird of the North Pacific. It nests as far
north as the Kurils, Komandorskis, Aleutians, and southern Alaska, and ranges
northward through the Bering Sea, past the Diomedes and into Kotzebue Sound.
It is probably the only species of the genus which wanders regularly northward
to the Arctic Circle and beyond.
See Leach’s Petrel and Fork-tailed Petrel.
58. Petrel . A small or middle-sized oceanic bird of the order Procellari–
iformes, especially one of the several small black, black-and-white, or gray–
and-white species belonging to the family Hydrobatidae and familiarly known
as Mother Carey’s chickens. These birds customarily feed while flying, flut–
tering along just above the water and using their feet a great deal as well
as their wings.
The word petrel may possibly be a diminutive of Peter — in allusion to
St. Peter’s walking on the sea (Matthew XIV, 29). If one species deserves
more than others to be called the petrel, it is probably Hydrobates pelagicus ,
the stormy (or storm) petrel, a bird of the eastern North Atlantic and western
Mediterranean which nests as far north as southern Iceland; but the term is

EA-Orn. Sutton: Oceanodroma and Petrel; Pink-footed Shearwater

very loosely applied, several widely differin [: ] g genera and species being known
as petrels. Thus the fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis ) is frequently referred to
as the fulmar petrel; the giant fulmar ( Macronectes giganteus ) is often re–
ferred to as the giant petrel; birds of the small but uniform procellariiform
family Pelecanoididae, of southern oceans, are almost always referred to as
the diving petrels; the large family Procellariidae is known collectively as
“the petrels”; and such species as Pterodroma hasitata and Pagodroma nivea
are rarely called anything but, respectively, the black-ca p ped petrel and snow
petrel. In general, the term is applied to all procellariiform birds with
the exception of the albatrosses (family Diomedeidae).
59. Pink-footed Shearwater . A rather large procellariiform bird, Puffinus
creatopus
, sometimes known as the red-footed, Coues’s, or Copper’s Shearwater.
It is found in the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean in both the Northern and
Southern Hemispheres. It breeds on Mas a Tierra and Santa Clara Islands of
the Juan Fernandez group, and on Mocha Island (lat. 38° 25′ S.) off Chile
(Murphy, 1936, Oceanic Birds of South America , 2: 64), and migrates northward
along the American coast at least as far as southern Alaska.
It is about 20 inches long and is quite variable in coloration. Generally
speaking, it is brown above and white below, but some individuals are so heavily
barred and freckled on the under parts as to appear gray-breasted at a distance.
These dark-breasted birds are usually dark throughout the under wing coverts
also. In all birds the bill is light yellowish-flesh color save along the
culmen, where it is dark bro w n. The feet are not really pink or red, but are
light flesh color, the outer toe and outer side of the tarsus being brown, the
claws white with brown tips.
The pink-footed shearwater appears to be closely related to the so-called

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariidae

cineraceous shearwater ( Puffinus kuhlii ), an Atlantic species represented by
several races, among them the Mediterranean shearwater ( P. kuhlii kuhlii ),
which breeds on islands in the Mediterranean, and the well-known Cory’s
shearwater ( P. kuhlii borealis ), which breeds on the Azores, canaries, Sal–
vages, and Madeira, and migrates northward in the Atlantic to about latitude
44° N.
See Puffinus.
60. Procellariidae . A family of tube-nosed, long-winged oceanic birds,
collectively known as petrels and belonging to the order Procellariiformes.
Opinion differs as to whether the 8 genera (11 species) of storm petrels
(Mother Carey’s chickens) should form a subfamily under the Procellariidae
or stand as a full family (Hydrobatidae) by themselves. Since, on the basis
of behavior, small size, and the position of the nostrils in a single tube
on top of the bill, the storm petrels form a homogeneous unit which is quite
different from all other procellariiform birds, full family rank for them seems
warranted. This leaves the family Procellariidae with 13 genera which have
been divided into 2 subfamilies (Fulmarinae and Puffininae) by some authors.
The Procellariidae, as just defined, are smaller than the albatrosses
(Di o medeidae), the single exception being the giant fulmar, which is about the
size of the smaller albatrosses; and they differ also in having the nostril
tubes more or less together on the top, rather than on the side, of the bill.
They are larger than the Hydrobatidae, though Bulwer’s petrel ( Bulweria bul
werii ) is small and rather like a Mother Carey’s chicken in general appearance.
They are very dissimilar, of course, to the chunky, short-winged diving petrels
(Pelecanoididae) of southern seas — birds whose flight is similar to that of

EA-Orn. Sutton:Procellariidae

the auks and murres (Alcidae), and whose nostrils open upward and are pro–
tected by a high, firm wall at either side.
The Procellariidae are of special interest to us, since the only truly
arctic procellariiform bird of the world, the fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis )
belongs to it. The fulmar is found only in the Northern Hemisphere, nests
northward to the Arctic Circle and well beyond, and in its wanderings flies
to within a few degrees of the North Pole. It has been called the “world’s
most northern bird.” Puzzlingly enough, the genera and species which appear
to be most closely related to the fulmar are, however, far removed geograph–
ically — the giant fulmar ( Macronectes ), Cape pigeon or pintado petrel ( Dap
tion ), blue petrel ( Halobaena ) and silver-gray fulmar ( Priocella ) all being
birds of remote southern seas.
Of the 13 genera currently placed in the Procellariidae, at least eight
arte monotypic ( Macronectes, Fulmarus, Daption, Ha n l obaena, Priocella, Thalas
soica, Adamastor , [: ] and Pagodroma ). Of the polytypic genera, those which
have the greatest number of forms are Pterodroma (28 species) and Puffinus
(19 species). Pachyptila has four species, Procellaria three, and Bulweria two.
Of the just-named polytypic genera only one ( Puffinus ) ranges at all regu–
larly northward to the Arctic Circle and beyond. The more or less arctic
species of Puffinus are: P. puffinus , the common or Manx shearwater, which
nests in the eastern North Atlantic as far north as Iceland; P. tenuirostris ,
the slender-billed shearwater, which breeds in the Australian region and
migrates regularly through the North Pacific and Bering Sea into the Arctic
Sea; P. gravis , the greater shearwater, which nests on the Tristan da Cunha
group and migrates northward through the Atlantic to the coasts of Labrador
and southern Greenland; and P. griseus , the sooty shearwater, which nests in

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariidae and Procellariiformes

widely separated parts of the Southern Hemisphere and migrates northward in
both the Atlantic and the Pacific almost to the Arctic Circle. The Cory’s
Mediterranean shearwater ( P. kuhlii borealis ), which nests on the Azores
and other Atlantic island groups, does not ordinarily migrate northward
farther than about latitude 44° N. The scaled petrel ( Pterodroma inexpec
tata ), which nests in New Zealand, migrates through the Pacific northward
as far as the Aleutians. The Bulwer’s petrel ( Bulweria bulwerii ) is casual
off the coasts of Labrador and Greenland. Several other species of the
family have been recorded in northern seas, probably as a result of being
g b lown off course by high winds.
61. Procellariiformes . A large avian order, known also as the Tubinares,
composed of upward of a hundred species belonging to the families Diomedeidae
(albatrosses), Procellariidae (fulmar, shearwaters, and allies), Hydrobatidae
(Storm Petrels or Mother Carey’s Chickens), and Pelecanoididae (diving petrels),
all of which are oceanic birds with webbed feet, hooked beaks, and remarkable
powers of flight. Only one member of the order breeds northward into the
truly arctic regions — the fulmar petrel ( Fulmarus glacialis ) — but several
others nest as far north as Iceland and the Kur i ls, Komandorskis, and Aleutians;
or nest well south of the subarctic, and migrate northward in their winter
(i.e., the northern summer) to the Arctic Circle or beyond it.
The tubular structure of the external nostrils sets all procellariiform
birds sharply apart from other present day birds. An almost equally important,
though less striking, external anatomical feature is the plates of the bill and
the grooves which separate them. An interesting ordinal character, which can–
not be seen but which is no less valid on that account, is the strong musky
smell which is noticeable not alone in the living bird and in very old museum

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariiformes

specimens, but also on the breeding ground, even in nest burrows which have
been unoccupied for a year or more. So powerful is this scent that the hands
of a man who has been skinning a shearwater or fulmar may reek of it even
after several thorough washings in soap and water. This smell is that of the
stomach oil which the birds eject from the mouth (and possibly also the
nostrils) when caught in the nest burrow or picked up wounded. The ejection
of the fluid appears to be a form of self-defense (see Matthews).
Within the order the size range is great. The wandering albatross
( Diomedea exulans ) and royal albatross ( D. epomophora ) are the largest sea
birds known, as well as the largest “of all flying birds if dimensions rather
than weight form the standard of comparison; condors are heavier but have a
lesser wingspread” (Murphy). The small petrels known as Mother Carey’s chickens
are, on the other hand, little larger than swallows and are the smallest of
web-footed birds. Members of the order which breed in or wander into the
arctic regions are n[: ei ]either neither the smallest nor the largest, the fulmar and slender–
billed shearwater being somewhat smaller than the herring gull ( Larus argentatus ),
the most northward-ranging albatrosses being much smaller than the wandering
and royal albatrosses, and the most northward-ranging Mother Carey’s chickens
being about 6 to 8 inches long.
Taxonomists agree that the albatrosses (Diomedeidae) and diving petrels
(Pelecanoididae) are, within themselves, homogeneous groups. In the Diomedeidae
there are two genera, Diomedea and Phoebetria . In the Pelecanoididae, which
is the most aberrant but also the most uniform family, there is but one genus,
Pelecanoides . As for the remaining 21 procellariiform genera, opinions, differ,
some systematists believing that they should all be placed in one family, the
Procellariidae (with two subfamilies, the Puffininae and Hydrobatinae); others

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariiformes

believing that the eight general collectively called the Mother Carey’s
chickens should stand in a family by themselves, the Hydrobatidae, whereas
the other 13 genera should compose the family Procellariidae (with two sub–
families, the Fulmarinae and Puffininae). However close morphologically
the Mother Carey’s chieckens may be to the other petrels, there is this to
be said about them: their fluttering, swallow-like flight is very dissimilar
to the “mechanical planing sweep” of the shearwaters, and the sustained sail–
ing of the albatrosses. On the basis of their food-gathering behavior alone,
if not on their proportions and color pattern, they form a fairly distinct
and uniform group (see Lowe; Peters).
Although the Procellariiformes are cosmomarine in distribution, about two–
thirds of the species breed exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere; a few
breed both to the north and the south of the equator; and several breed ex–
clusively in the Northern Hemisphere, the fulmar being decidedly the most
northern of all in year-round distribution (the monotypic genus Fulmarus is
the only genus of the order which is exclusively northern). The closets rela–
tives of the fulmar, curiously enough, are not birds of the Northern Hemisphere,
but of the Southern. Among these are the giant fulmar or giant petrel ( Macro
nectes ), Cape pigeon ( Daption ), silver-gray fulmar ( Priocella ), whalebird
( Pechyptila ), and blue petrel ( Halobaena ). The ranges of these more or less
closely related genera do not even touch that of Fulmarus .
The most northward ranging of the albatrosses (Diomedeidae) are the short–
tailed albatross ( Diomedea albatrus ), which bred formerly on certain islands in
the North Pacific Ocean and ranged, when not breeding, throughout the Bering Sea
from the Komandorskis north to the Diomedes and Norton Sound on the Alaska
coast; and the black-footed albatross ( D. nigripes ), which breeds on certain

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariiformes

mid-Pacific islands and wanders, when not breeding, as far north as the
Kurils and Aleutians and the coast of southern Alaska (Bristol Bay). The
short-tailed albatross is a very rare bird — possibly extinct. The black–
footed albatross is sometimes abundant in North Pacific waters. The black–
browed albatross ( D. melanophris ) of southern oceans has been recorded
several times as a straggler in the North, and several other species of
the genus Diomedea have been recorded from time to time in boreal seas.
The most northward breeding of the shearwaters is the Manx shearwater
( Puffinus puffinus puffinus ), which breeds on islands and coasts of the
eastern north Atlantic from Madeira and the Azores northward to Iceland,
and which wanders occasionally to waters off Greenland and the coast of
North America. Decidedly the most northward ranging of the shearwaters is,
however, the slender-billed shearwater ( Puffinus tenuirostris ), which
breeds off Australia but migrates widely throughout the Pacific Ocean north–
ward through the Bering Sea into the Arctic Sea. Off Wainwright and Point
Barrow, Alaska, it occurs regularly in great numbers in summer. The sooty
shearwater ( Puffinus griseus ), which breeds in widely separated parts of
the Southern Hemisphere, migrates north in summer throughout both the
Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, reaching the Kurils and the Aleutians, the
Labrador coast, and waters off southern Greenland. The greater shearwater
( Puffinus gravis ), which breeds in the Tristan da Cunha group, migrates
northward through the Atlantic Ocean to the Grand Banks off Newfoundland,
the coasts of southern Greenland, and the British Isles.
Among the Mother Car ye ey ’s chickens, the most northward ranging are the
storm petrel ( Hydrobates pelagicus ), which breeds as far north as southern
Iceland; the Leach’s petrel ( Oceanodroma leucorhoa ), which breeds northward

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariiformes

in the Atlantic as far as southern Iceland, the Faeroes, and southern Green–
land, and in the Pacific as far as the Kuril[] and certain of the Komandorski
and Aleutian Islands; the beautiful fork-tailed petrel ( Oceanodroma furcata ),
which breeds in the Kuril, Komandorski, and Aleutian Islands and migrates
northward as far at least occasionally, as Kotzebue Sound; and the very widely
ranging Wilson’s petrel ( Oceanites oceanicus ) which breeds only in the Far
South (even on the Antarctic continent) but migrates northward in the Atlantic
to about latitude 60° N.
Since so many procellariiform species breed exclusively in the Southern
Hemisphere, and especially since birds of this order are so conspicuous among
the few forms which nest in the very Far South, it is natural to suspect that
the group originated in that part of the world. The genus Fulmarus , which is
now exclusively northern in distribution, may possibly have spread northward
within recent times. Its closest relatives are all southern, as has been
stated above; and its spread within the last century to the Faeroes and from
St. Kilda to other localities about the British Isles (see Fisher and Water–
ston), indicates either a considerable increase in the numbers of the bird or
a shifting of breeding populations such as might have taken place when the
species “became” northern centuries ago.
Because their habitat (i.e., the high seas) is so much the same the world
over, and because there are so few other birds which live in these vast
stretches of water, the Procellariiformes have almost “a world to themselves”
wholly away from land. As J. T. Nichols has pointed out, “the great range in
size relieves pressures of competition. The small Wilson’s Petrel …, the
medium-sized Cape Pigeon, and the large Albatross collect at one time to par–
take of the scarps from a ship, and the smaller birds are satisfied with crumbs

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariiformes

left by the larger ones.” Even on their breeding grounds the variation in
size reduces competition. The large species, which do not need protection,
nest in the open. The smaller species seek holes and crevices in the rocks —
nest sites which are, perforce, limited in number.
About their island nesting grounds some procellariiform birds are strictly
nocturnal, the return to the nest burrows being made wholly under cover of
night. Most members of the tribe, save the albatrosses and fulmars, custom–
arily hide their single egg in a burrow or fissure in the rocks, some forms
digging burrows several feet long. Many species, such as the Laysan alba–
tross ( Di o medea immutabilis ) and the fulmar, are colonial. The numerous pairs
seem to lead rather independent lives; but, as Murphy points, out, “the noc–
turnal whistling and sobbing and yowling of petrels and shearwaters at their
nest is … a kind of community expression.” The duties of incubation are
shared by the male and female. The incubation period and nestling period are
extremely long.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bannerman, D. C. “The distribution and nidification of the Tubinares in
the Tubinares in the North Atlantic islands,” Ibis , ser.10,
vol.2, pp.438-94, 1914. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.1-181, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Fisher, James, and Waterston, George. “The breeding distribution, history
xand population of the fulmar ( Fulmarus glacialis ) in the
British Isles,” J.Animal Ecol. vol.10, no.2, pp.204-72, Nov.,
1941. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Lower, P.R. “On the classification of the Tubinares on Petrels,” Zool.
Soc. Lond. Proc . 1925, pp.1433-43. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Procellariiformes and Pterodroma

<bibl> 5. Matthews, L.H. “The origin of stomach oil in the petrels, with compara–
tive observations on the avian proventriculus,” Ibis , vol.91
pp.373-92, 1949. </bibl> <bibl> 6. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936, pp.471-89. </bibl> <bibl> 7. Nichols, J.T. “Size in the avian order Tubinares,” Ibis , ser.10, vol.2,
no.5, pp.315-16, Jan., 1914. </bibl> <bibl> 8. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass., Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1, pp.68-75. </bibl>
#####
62. Pterodroma . A genus of fairly large procellariiform birds collectively
known as petrels, and differing from the rather closely related genus Puffinus
(shearwaters) principally in having a proportionately deeper and shorter bill.
The horny distal portion of the upper mandible is proportionately longer and
the depressed middle part shorter (less than half the length measured along
the culmen) than in Puffinus . The nostrils are on top of the culmen and are
separated by a distinct membrane. The tarsus is not flattened, nor sharp-edged
in front, as in Puffinus . The claws are sharp-pointed. The wings are propor–
tionately longer than in Puffinus , the first developed primary being longest.
The tail is rather short and more or less wedge-shaped. There are 12 rectrices.
Peters lists 28 species in his Check-List of Birds of the World (1931,
1: 61-67), of which several are unique, extinct, or hypothetical. The genus
is represented by extant forms in most oceans, but only one species regularly
migrates into subarctic regions — the scaled petrel ( P. inexpectata ), which
breeds on New Zealand, the Chatham Islands, and Bounty Island. In its winter
season (i.e., the northern summer), this species moves north in the Pacific
as far as the Aleutian Islands and Alaska. No species of the genus regularly
moves northward in the Atlantic to comparably high latitudes.
See Scaled Petrel.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Puffinus

63. Puffinus . A genus of oceanic birds commonly known as shearwaters.
They are among the middle-sized procellariiform birds, the largest species
being definitely smaller than the smallest of the albatrosses (family Dio–
medeidae), and the smallest being perceptibly larger (heavier, longer, and
with wider wingspread) than the largest of the Mother Carey’s chickens (family
Hydrobatidae). They are recognizable by their long slender bills, which are
sharply hooked at the very tip. The nostril tubes are on top of the culmen and
are well separated, the nostril openings being visible from above but not from
the side. The tarsus is flattened laterally and has rather a sharp ridge in
front. The tail is graduated (wedge-shaped), and has 12 rectrices. The wings
are pointed, the first or second developed primary (counting from the outside)
being the longest. The genus most closely related to it is probably Pterodroma
which has no common name aside from petrels), which is separable at a glance by
its comparatively deeper and shorter bill, and its unflattened tarsus (no sharp
ridge along the front).
Puffinus is a large genus, 19 or 20 species currently being recognized.
It is also an ancient one, fossil remains dating back to Oligocene and Miocene
times having been reported from Europe and America, respectively (Lambrecht,
1933, Handbuch der Palaeornithologie , p. 274). Several species, notably P .
assimilis (Gould’s shearwater) and P. lherminieri (dusky shearwater) have been
divided into many geographical races, most of them endemic to certain islands.
The genus is found in all seas except the North Polar and Mediterranean; and
there are species peculiar to the Northern Hemisphere as well as to the Southern.
Morphologically, Puffinus is quite uniform, all the species having about
the same proportions and being brown and white, gray and white, or solid gray
or brown. Throughout the group males and females are colored alike and in no

EA-Orn. Sutton: Puffinus and Scaled Petrel

species are birds in first winter plumage readily distinguishable from full
adults. No species of Puffinus is distinctly two-phased as is the fulmar
( Fulmarus glacialis ).
In behavior, too, Puffinus is a homogeneous group, only one species, P .
reinholdi (fluttering shearwater) having conspicuously different flight from
the others. All the species nest in burrows as a rule, a requirement which
probably has prevented their spreading northward and southward to rocky
islands and coasts. Throughout the genus one egg is laid; both sexes incubate;
and the birds are in evidence about the nesting ground only at night. The
young is covered with extremely thick, soft down, which clings for a long
time to the incoming plumage, especially throughout the under parts, forming
there a sort of mattress or cushion on which the bird rests.
No species of the genus nests in the true Arctic; but the common or Manx
shearwater ( Puffinus puffinus ), which is best [: ] k nown as a bird of the British
Isles, the Azores, and certain islands of the Mediterranean, breeds as far
north as southern Iceland; the slender-billed or short-tailed shearwater
( )P. tenuirostris ), which breeds in Australian seas, migrates regularly to the
Arctic Sea by way of Bering Strait; the greater shearwater ( P. gravis ), which
breeds in the Tristan da Cunha group, migrates northward through the Atlantic
as far as the coasts of Labrador and southern Greenland; the pink-footed shear–
water ( P. creatopus ), which breeds on Mocha and the Juan Fernandez Islands,
migrates to Alaskan waters; and the sooty shearwater ( P. griseus ), which nests
in widely separated parts of the Southern Hemisphere, migrates to the Bering
Sea as well as to the coasts of Labrador and southern Greenland.
See Greater Shearwater, Manx Shearwater, Slender-billed Shearwater, Pink–
footed Shearwater and Sooty Shearwater.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Scaled Petrel and Shearwater

64. Scaled Petrel . A middle-sized procellariiform bird, Pterodroma in
expectata , sometimes called Peale’s petrel, and known in New Zealand as the
rainbird. It breeds on and about New Zealand, the Chatham Islands and Bounty
Island, and migrates in summer (i.e., the southern winter) through the Pacific
Ocean northward as far as the Aleutian Islands and the southern coast of Alaska.
It is about 14 inches long and is dark gray on the crown, hindneck, and upper
part of the body (including the wings and tail). The forehead, throat, breast
and under tail coverts are white. The face, sides of the chest, and flanks are
mottled, having a slightly scaled appearance. The eye is surrounded with a dark
gray patch. The abdomen is brownish gray. The species has never been recorded
in the subarctic Atlantic; but has been reported once from the state of New York.
65. Shearwater . Any of several long-winged, tube-nosed, web-footed oceanic
birds belonging to the family Procellariidae (especially to the genus Puffinus )
and characterized by their long slender bill which is strongly hooked at the
tip. As a group they are larger than the Mother Carey’s chickens or storm
petrels (family Hydrobatidae), although the well known and widely ranging [: ]
Puffinus lherminieri , the nominate race of which is called Audubon’s shearwater,
is only 10 to 12 inches long. The are all decidedly smaller than the albatrosses
(family Diomedeidae), although in some species the proportions of bill and head
are somewhat like those of the albatrosses. Throughout the group, which bears
the general common name of “petrels,” the nostril tubes are on top of the bill
and more or less adjacent, but the external nostril openings are definitely
separated by more than a mere membrane or septum. The flight of shearwaters
has been described as a “mechanical planning sweep.” Except in one species, it
is not fluttering or swallow-like as is that of the Mother Carey’s chickens;

EA-Orn. Sutton: Shearwater

nor does it resemble the protracted and majestic sailing of the albatrosses.
It is a series of swift glides, with the wings held stiffly at right angles
to the body’s vertical axis, though not by any means parallel to the horizon
itself, for the glides describe arcs above the waves which only fleetingly
parallel the earth’s curvature.
The best known of the shearwaters belong to the genus Puffinus , and all
species of the genus Puffinus are called shearwaters, but the two words are
not quite synonymous, for certain petrels of other genera are sometimes called
shearwaters. Among the many common named given shearwaters are the following:
hag, haglet, hagdon, hagdown, and muttonbird.
Only a few shearwaters regularly visit arctic or subarctic waters, but
these are sometimes very abundant and well known among seamen and natives. The
common or Manx shearwater ( Puffinus puffinus ) breeds northward as far as southern
Iceland and westward as far as the Bermudas, although it is best known as a
bird of the British Isles, the Azores, and certain islands of the Mediterranean.
The slender-billed or short-tailed shearwater ( Puffinus tenuirostris ) breeds on
islands near Australia, but migrates regularly to the North Pacific, passing
through Bering Strait into the Arctic Sea in great numbers. How far it travels
northward is not known, but it has been seen in summer at Wainwright and Point
Barrow, Alaska, by the tho [: ] u sand. The greater shearwater ( Puffinus gravis ),
which nests in the Tristan da Cunha group, migrates to the North Atlantic, some–
times being very abundant off the coasts of Labrador and south Greenland. The
sooty shearwater ( Puffinus griseus ), which breeds in widely separated parts of
the Southern Hemisphere (New Zealand; Chatham, Auckland, and Snares Islands; the
Falklands and certain islands off southern Chile, migrates northward to Kamchatka,
Alaska, Labrador, Greenland, and the Azores.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Shearwater and Short-tailed Albatross

See Procellariidae, Puffinus , Manx Shearwater, Greater Shearwater, Sooty
Shearwater, Pink-footed Shearwater, and Slender-billed Shearwater.
Reference:
<bibl> Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat. Mus. Bull . no. 121, pp. 54-106, 1922. </bibl>
66. Short-tailed Albatross . A large procellariiform bird, Diomedea
albatrus , the adult of which has been called “the only white albatross of
the North Pacific” (Alexander). It breeds (or bred formerly) on the Bonins,
Wake, and various small islands off Formosa and Japan. When not breeding, it
ranges (or once ranged) along the coasts of China and Japan, in the Sea of
Okhotsk; in the Bering Sea from the Komandorski Islands northward to the Dio–
medes and Norton Sound, Alaska; and along the west coast of North America
southward as far as Baja California. The southern limits of its range are
open to question because of possible misidentification of birds seen at a
distance. Since 1900 it has become steadily rarer, probably chiefly as a
result of the depredations of plumage hunters. Many ornithologists fear that
it is extinct.
The fully adult short-tailed albatross is “mostly white, washed with
buff on the head and neck; primaries and tip of tail dark brown; bill pinkish
flesh-color, feet bluish white” (Alexander). This plumage is not attained
until the third or fourth year. A painting by Allan Brooks, reproduced in the
National Geographic Magazine, shows the bird with white head, neck, and body,
but wholly dark primaries and secondaries . A specimen which I handled recently
was dark brown above (including the whole hindneck, back, and upper surface of)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Short-tailed Albatross

of the wings), and white on the under parts, forehead and rump, the young bird
in first winter plumage is dark brown all over, palest on the chin, and W. B.
Alexander says that it has “pinkish bill and flesh-coloured feet.” Cassin
quotes Peale, however, to the effect that “until the second year … the bird
has black feet and a dirty flesh-colored bill.” The short-tailed albatross is
36 to 37 inches long, the black-footed albatross only 28 inches long, so there
is a considerable difference in size and wingspread. Some young short-tailed
albatrosses must, however, look very much like some young black-footed alba–
trosses, especially at a distance, though the latter, regardless of age, usually
has some white at the base of the bill . A young short-tailed albatross in a
company of black-footed albatrosses would probably stand out as appreciably
larger.
Titian Peale found the short-tailed albatross breeding on Wake Island in
mid-December. He reported that both sexes took turns in incubating the single
egg, and that “neither the male nor the female abandoned the nest at our ap–
proach, but walked around us in a very dignified manner, and made but few
demonstrations of defense with their bills when taken up in our arms” (fide
Cassin).
The egg has been described as dull white, blothed and spotted with red
and dull purplish brown at the larger end. The newly hatched young apparently has
not been described — if indeed it has ever been seen by an ornithologist.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexander, W.B. Birds of the Ocean . N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1928. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.6-9, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Stejneger, L.H. Results of Ornithological Explorations in the Commander
Islands and in Kamtschatka . Wash., G.P.O., 1885, pp.89-91.
U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.29. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Slender-billed Shearwater.

68. Slender-billed Shearwater . A fairly large procellariiform bird,
Puffinus tenuirostris , which closely resembles the sooty shearwater ( Puffinus
griseus ), but is considerably smaller, and is wholly without grayish white in
the under wing coverts. It is the only species of the wide-ranging genus Puf
finus which regularly migrates northward to the Arctic Circle and well beyond.
It breeds on islands in Australian seas (in Bass Strait; off the coasts of Vic–
toria, South Australia, and Tasmania; and on Bounty Island), eggs having been
found from November to March. It migrates into the North Pacific, apparently
moving northward along the Asiatic side and southward on the American side.
It has been seen near the Komandorski Islands as early as May 29 (Bent) and
along the Alaska coast (Bering Strait, Wainwright, and Point Barrow) in late
summer and fall. At Point Barrow, Charles Brower saw it “by thousands from
September to October, 1929” (Bailey). It is sometimes called the short-tailed
shearwater. In Bass Strait, where it is known as the muttonbird, it is an
important source of human food. In the North Pacific it is amost universally
known as the whalebird.
It is about 13 inches long, and sooty brown, much paler on the under parts.
Its bill is very dark brown, tinged with olive, its feet grayish flesh color
“with webs sometimes yellowish flesh-color” (Alexander). It is somewhat two–
phased individuals being light gray on the under surface of the wings, and on
the chin and forethroat. Birds of this phase are difficult to distinguish from
sooty shearwaters, despite their being smaller and proportionately shorter–
billed than that species.
The slender-billed shearwater nests in burrows. The paired birds take
about six weeks in digging or renovating a burrow, then the whole population
leaves the nesting ground for about a month. When they return, the sky is

EA-Orn. Sutton: Slender-billed Shearwater

darkened by the incoming birds for four or five days. So abundant are they
that many of them are forced to lay their eggs on the ground under bushes.
In well-populated parts of the colony as many as nine burrow entrances have
been reported for each square meter of ground [: ] surface. Egg-laying begins
in November and the young hatch about January 15 (incubation period about 50
days). Both sexes incubate and care for the young. They return from the
sea under cover of darkness. After a period of great activity and noise while
the young are being fed, the colony settles down for some sleeping. At about
2:30 A.M. the birds waken, and the adults scramble up the slopes to the higher
ridges where they spread their wings, are lifted by the wind, and make for the
sea.
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexander, W.B. Birds of the Ocean . N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1928, P. 38. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bailey, A.M., Brower. C.D., and Bishop, L.B. “Birds of the region of
Point Barrow, Alaska,” Chicago Academy of Sciences. Program
of Activities , vol. 4, no. 2, p.18. Apr., 1933. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . vol. 121, p. 96, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Montgomery, H.H. “On the habits of the Mutton-bird of Bass Strait,
Australia ( Puffinus tenuirostris ),” Ibis , pp. 209-16, 1898. </bibl>
69. Sooty Shearwater. A rather large, sooty-black procellariiform bird,
Puffinus griseus , which is unique among shearwaters in that it is found in both
the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from water off Cape Horn and New Zealand to
the subarctic regions. Among the Labrador it is known as the black hagdown
(or hagdon). In parts of its breeding range it is known as the muttonbird.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Sooty Shearwater

It is an important source of food among the Maoris of New Zeland.
It breeds is widely separated parts of the Southern Hemisphere — on
numerous islands in the subantarctic region of New Zealand; on certain islands
off Cape Horn and bordering Tierra del Fuego; on the Falklands; and on Mocha
Island, off Chile, not far south of Concepcion. For some years ornithologists
have believed that it nested also on the eastern slope of the Cerro de Colupito,
inland from Cobija, northern Chile (see Murphy); but A. W. Johnson, one of the
authors of Los Aves de Chile , currently being published, informs me that the
young “shearwaters” found by the “party of prospectors” in that “plantless
pampa” were actually young gulls, not procellariiform birds at all.
The sooty shearwater’s migrations take it northward almost to the Arctic
Circle along the coasts of Kamchatka, Alaska, Labrador, Greenland, and Europe.
In moving northward through the [: ]Atlantic it passes swiftly across the tropics,
reaching waters off North Carolina in late May (Bent); the high seas well off
northern Newfoundland early in June; and Cape Farewell, Greenland, in mid-June
(Wynne-Edwards). It appears in the North Atlantic a little later in the spring
than the greater shearwater ( P. gravis ), perhaps because of its greater journey,
from Cape Horn as opposed to Tristan da Cunha. It lingers in northern waters
until November (occasionally later). Its movements in the North Pacific are
not very well known, partly because of confusion in identification resulting
from its similarity to the slender-billed shearwater ( P. tenuirostris ).
The sooty shearwater is 18 to 20 inches long and is blackish brown through–
out the upper parts and grayish brown on the under parts save for the chin,
which is paler, and the under wing coverts, which are grayish white. The bill

EA-Orn. Sutton: Sooty Shearwater and Strom Petrel

is black or nearly so. The feet are slaty gray, sometimes with flesh-colored
webs. It resembles the slender-billed or short-tailed shearwater quite closely,
but that species has wholly dark under wing coverts. It is proportionately a
narrower-winged bird than the greater shearwater, hence appears to be somewhat
heavier bodies. In the North Atlantic it is considerably less common that that
species, with which it sometimes associates in summer, though Wynne-Edwards
believes it to be “better represented in the offshore zone, i.e., on the fish–
ing banks, and less well in the pelagic, than is the Greater Shearwater.”
In New Zealand the sooty shearwater digs its nest-burrows in hard ground —
a custom which seems in keeping with its aggressive nature. Various authors
agree that sooty shearwaters caught in their burrows are anything but mild–
natured in their behavior; and many a comment has been made on the biting,
squawking, and general pugnacity of wounded birds. One egg (white) is laid.
Both sexes assist in the incubation.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life Histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.85-90, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Johnson, A.W., and others. Los Aves de Chile . In press. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936. Vol.2, pp.666-73. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Richdale, L.E. “The sooty shearwater in New Zealand,” Condor , vol.46,
pp.93-107, 1944. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Wynne-Edwards, V.C. “On the habits and distribution of birds of the north
Atlantic,” Boston Soc.Nat.Hist. Proc . vol.40, pp.261, 263, 1935. </bibl>

EA-Orn Sutton: Storm Petrel or Stormy Petrel

70. Storm Petrel or Stormy Petrel . Any of several small, sooty black,
black-and-white, or gray-and-white procellariiform birds known among seamen
as Mother Carey’s chickens. They all belong to the family Hydrobatidae ( q.v. ).
Hydrobates pelagicus , one of the best known of the Mother Carey’s chickens,
a species sometimes called the British storm petrel. It is very similar to the
Wilson’s petrel ( Oceanites oceanicus ) and Leach’s petrel ( Oceanodroma leucorhoa ),
with which it associates in North Atlantic waters. It is about 6 inches long
and is, generally speaking, sooty black with boldly white upper tail coverts
(the longest of which have black tips); some white feathers among the flanks
and under tail coverts; a narrow line of grayish white (formed by the tips of
the greater coverts) on the upper surface of the wing; and a small whitish
patch on the under coverts of the manus. From the species with which it is
most likely to be confused, it can be distinguished thus: it is square-tailed
rather than forked-tailed as is the Leach’s petrel. Its legs are shorter than
those of the Wilson’s petrel, and its feet are wholly black (rather than yellow
on the webs). Of the three species it has the weakest, most fluttering flight.
The stormy petrel inhabits the eastern North Atlantic, breeding locally
from islands of the western Mediterranean northward on small islands off the
British Isles, the coast of Norway (Lofoten), and southern Iceland; and ranging,
when not breeding, westward to waters off the coasts of Nova Scotia, Labrador,
and (occasionally) Greenland; eastward to the Red Sea; and southward to the
coasts of tropical western Africa.
The species usually breeds in colonies. It places its single egg (which
is white, with a wreath of brown spots about the larger end) at the end of a
burrow in peaty soil or in a cranny among rocks. The nest proper, if there is
any, is a slight affair of dry grasses. Both the male and female incubate.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Storm Petrel and Wilson’s Petrel

The period of incubation is 38 to 40 days, and fledging requires 61 days more.
The newly hatched chick has a bald spot on its crown. Egg-laying begins in
late May. Young have been found in the nest as late as October or even Novem–
ber.
At sea the stormy petrel is a comparatively silent bird; but on its nest–
ing grounds is apparently is quite vociferous. It flies to and from its nest
only under cover of night. A cry given at its nest has been described as a
“harsh, purring ‘urr’, long sustained, and abruptly ended with ‘chikka’.”
For facts about storm petrels in general see Hydrobatidae, Petrel, and
Mother Carey’s Chicken.
References:
<bibl> 1. Gordon, S.P. “Some breeding-habits of the Storm-Petrel,” British Birds,
vol. 24, pp. 245-48, 1931. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Lockley, R.M. “On the breeding habits of the Storm-Petrel, with special
reference to its incubation and fledging periods,” ibid .,
vol. 25, pp. 206-11, 1932. </bibl>
72. Wilson’s Petrel . A well-known maritime bird, Oceanites oceanicus,
which breeds in South Georgia, the south Shetlands, the South Orkneys, the
Falklands, Kerguelen, Tierra del Fuego, South Victoria Land, Adelie Land,
Queen Mary Land, MacRobertson Land, Kaiser Wilhelm II Land, Enderby Land,
and Graham Land and migrates regularly to subarctic waters of the North At–
lantic (to the latitudes of Newfoundland and the British Isles), to the Red
Sea and the Persian Gulf in the Indian Ocean; and to New Guinea and northern
Peru in the Pacific (Roberts). It is said to be the “most widespread and

EA-Orn. Sutton: Wilson’s Petrel

common of the Storm-Petrels” (Alexander). Roberts calls its migration “one
of the longest and perhaps the most remarkable of any bird known.” Explain–
ing this statement he says: “For the greater part of 8 months most of them
probably never come within sight of a landmark, yet they return at almost the
same date each year to the same burrow and mate.”
Wilson’s petrel is about 7 inches long, and is sooty black above (darkest
on the wings and tail) save for the wing coverts, which are gray, margined
with whitish, and the longer upper tail coverts, which are white (the shorter
ones are marked with sooty black). The under parts are somewhat lighter than
the back, and the flanks and under tail coverts are partly white. The tail
is square-tipped. In protracted flight, when the legs are extended backwards,
the feet project beyond the middle tail feathers. The square-tipped tail, pale
gr[]ay band in the wing, very long lges, and yellow webs of the feet all are
distinctive. R. C. Murphy, who saw Wilson’s petrels almost daily while en
route from New York to South Geo r gia, found that he could distinguish the species
from the other Morther Carey’s chickens by the “peculiar style of flight, which
consists of an alternate gliding and fluttering, producing a forward movement
of very different appearance from the ‘leaping’ strokes of Leach’s Petrel.”
Wunne-Edwards states that Wilson’s petrel rarely journeys northward of
latitude 50° N. in the Atlantic. Roberts place [: ] s the northern limit in American
waters at latitude 52°30' N. In its northward journey it reaches Cape Hatteras
in the latter half of April and about that time appears all along the Atlantic
coast of the United States. Two other procellariiform birds which nest far to
the south of the equator appear at about that same time — the grater shear–
water ( Puffinus gravis ) and sooty shearwater ( P. griseus ).
Wilson’s petrel “prefers to nest in colonies” (Bent). W. Eagle Clarke

EA-Orn. Sutton: Wilson’s Petrel

and Robert Hall have described immense breeding populations respectively
on the South Orkneys and on Kerguelen. The birds nest in a burrow, and but
one egg is laid. The incubation period of eggs at nine nests observed by
Brian Roberts ranged from 39 to 48 days. The sexes share the duties of in–
cubation equally. Fledging requires a minimum of 52 days. In Graham Land
the young birds are fed exclusively on the Krill, Euphasia superba (Roberts).
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Alexander, W. B. Birds of the Ocean. N.Y., Lond., Putnam, 1928, p.86. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American pet r els and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.121, p.166, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Clarke, W.E. “Ornithological results of the Scottish National Antarctic
Expedition. — II. On the birds of the South Orkney Islands,”
Ibis , ser.8, vol.6. no.21, p.145, Jan., 1906. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Hall, Robert. “Field-notes on the birds of Kerguelen Island,” Ibid .
ser.7, vol.6, no.21, p.1, Jan., 1900. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936. Vol.2, p.751. </bibl> <bibl> 6. Wynne-Edwards, V.C. “On the habits and distribution of birds of the
north Atlantic,” Boston Soc.Nat.Hist. Proc . vol.40, pp.233-46,
1935. </bibl>

Pelecaniformes (Gannets, Cormorants)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cormorants, Gannets, and their Allies

CORMORANTS, GANNETS, AND THEIR ALLIES

Order PELECANIFORMES
Family PHALACROCORACIDAE, SULIDAE
73. Common Cormorant. See writeup.
74. Cormorant. See writeup.
75. Double-crested Cormorant. See writeup.
76. Gannet. See writeup.
77. Green Cormorant. See writeup.
78. Morus (or Moris ). See writeup.
79 Pallas’s Cormorant. See writeup.
80. Pelagic Cormorant. See writeup.
81. PELECANIFORMES . See writeup.
82. PHALACROCORACIDAE. See writeup.
83. Phalacrocorax . See writeup.
84. Red-faced Cormorant. See writeup.
85. Shag. See writeup.
86. Solan Goose. A widely used common name for the gannet ( Morus bassanus ),
( q.v. ).
87. Spectacled Cormorant. A name sometimes used for the extinct Pallas’s
cormorant ( Phalacrocorax perspicillatus ) ( q.v. ).
88. SULIDAE. See writeup.
89. Violet-green Cormorant. A name frequently used for the northernmost race
of the pelagic cormorant ( Phalacrocorax pelagicus ) ( q.v. ).
90. White-crested Cormorant. A name frequently used for Phalacrocorax auritus
cincinatus , a race of the double-crested cormorant which breeds from
southern Alaska southward along the coast to Washington.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Common Cormorant

73. Common Cormorant . A large, well-known pelicaniform bird, Phalacro–
corax carbo
, found in widely separated areas from the Arctic Circle southward
to Tasmania New Zealand. It is among the largest species of the family
Phalacrocoracidae. At the northernmost edge of its range it breeds wholly
along the seacoast, but farther south it is also a bird of the interior, its
distribution depending on availability of food and of cliffs and rocky islets
on which it may nest. Birds which breed on the coast apparently migrate but
little, since the waters near their breeding places stay open the year round;
but birds which nest on lakes in the North Temperate interior move either south–
ward or seaward to open water in winter.
The common cormorant has established itself so widely and has remained
nonmigratory at these breeding centers so long that at least eight well-defined
geographical races have evolved, the best known being P. carbo carbo , which is
the only one ranging northward to the Arctic Circle and beyond. This form is
abundant locally in Europe — in Iceland, the Faeroes, the British Isles (where
it is known as the cormorant, in contradistinction to the smaller shag, Phala–
crocorax aristotelis
), the coast of Norway, and the Murman Coast, and it may
breed as far east as the Kara Sea, from which region it was reported by the
Duc d’Orleans. In North America it is anything but “common,” though there are
well-established colonies along the North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on
Anticosti Island, on the Magdalen Islands and Prince Edwards Island, along the
Nova Scotia coast, and in southern Greenland. Kumlien (1879) reported the
species “a regular breeder” in Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island, but neither
Hantzsch nor Soper encountered it there in recent years.
A subspecies of common cormorant found in the North Pacific, hanedac ,
breeds on the coast of Japan and probably also on Sakhalin, and Kurils, Korea,

EA-Orn. Sutton: Common Cormorant

and Quelpart Island. At no point does the range of this form reach the Arctic
Circle, a possible explanation being that competition with several other species
of cormorants in that region has prevented its spread. The other races of the
common cormorant ( sinensis of central and southern Europe and southern Asia;
maroccanus of the coast of Morocco; lugubris of northeastern Africa; lucidus
of the Cape Verdes and southern Africa; novaehollandiae of Australia, Tasmania,
and southern New Guinea; and steadi of New Zealand and the Chathams) are widely
scattered. The species is represented in most parts of the world save South
America, the Pacific coast of North America, and the islands of the central
Pacific. An interesting fact about the coloration of the species is this: all
the races are largely black save lucidus , which is white-breated. This may re–
flect — however inexplicably — a general trend toward white-breatedness among
cormorants of the Southern Hemisphere.
The common cormorant is 30 to 40 inches long. Adults in winter are
glossy greenish or bluish black, with an area of brownish white on the chin and
face. The back feathers, scapulars, and wing coverts are bronzy gray, edged
with black; the primaries, secondaries, and tail feathers grayish black. In
full nuptial plumage a conspicuous crest adorns and back of the head; the lower
part of the face and the upper throat are white; the glossy black neck plumage
is liberally sprinkled with fine, hairlike, grayish-white filoplumes; and a
large white patch of soft feathers appears on each flank. The bill is pale
horn color, darker along the culmen, and rich brownish yellow at the base of
the lower mandible as well as on the gape, lores, and gular sac. In fully adult
Gulf of St. Lawrence birds, which I handled alive, the iris was a beautiful
aquamarine blue. Birds from the British Isles are said to have “blue-green to
dark emerald green” irides. Young birds in first flight plumage are dark brown

EA-Orn. Sutton: Common Cormorant

on the top of the head, back of the neck, and upper part of the body; light
brown on the sides of the head and on the neck, upper chest, and flanks; and
white on the middle of the breast and belly. A postjuvenal molt results in a
first winter plumage which is more colorful than the juvenal plumage, but very
brown as compared with the plumage of the full adult. Even three-year-old
birds show signs of immaturity, the filoplumes of the neck being scrawnier
and the white flank patches less showy.
The common cormorant is a noticeable bird as it perches erect, often with
wings spread, on a rock or sandbar. Its flight is strong, direct, and rather
heavy. Flying, it usually stays low over water, but high over land. It rises
from the water with difficulty, especially in calm weather, being obliged to
propel itself with its feet as well as its wings, and sometimes striking the
tops of small waves as it makes a getaway. It swims with bill pointed well up–
ward. It dives with great ease, slipping under without a splash. Usually it
does not stay below the surface very long, and it may rise just enough to reveal
its head and neck, keeping the body below the surface.
It nests on cliff faces and small offshore islands, and occasionally in
trees. At the northern edge of its range it chooses precipitous headlands,
placing its nest on a broad ledge or rocktop sometimes at some distance above
the water. The nest is usually of seaweed. The eggs number 3 to 6, and have
a pale blue ground color, which is almost concealed with a chalky-white covering.
Both sexes incubate. The incubation period is said to be 28 days. The newly
hatched young are naked, blind, and brown-skinned. Presently a thick, short
brown down develops. A cry of the well-grown nestling has been described as
go-back , go-back . For a discussion of the nest-site requirements of this species
and the shag, see Green Cormorant.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cormorant

BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Kumlien, Ludwig. Contributions to the Natural History of Arctic America ,
Made in Connection with the Howgate Polar Expedition, 1877-78 .
Wash., G.P.O., 1879, U.S.Nat.Mus. Bull . no.15. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Peters, H.S. “European Cormorants nesting in Nova Scotia,” Canad. Field
Nat . Vol.54, pp.59-60, 1940. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Stuart, L.D. “Vital statistics of the Mochrum Cormorant colony,” British
Birds , vol.41, pp.194-99, 1948. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Turner, H.L. “Cormorants in Norfolk,” British Birds , vol.8, pp.130-42,
1914. </bibl>
# # # # #
74. Cormorant . Any of several species of fish-eating pelecaniform birds
having rather long and sharply hooked bill; no external nostril openings; rudi–
mentary tongue; rather short wings; tail composed of 12 or 14 very stiff feathers;
compact, almost uninterrupted plunge; green or blue eyes (usually) when adult;
a well-developed but not always conspicuous gular sac; and a well-developed oc–
cipital bone, sometimes called a style, which protrudes at the base of the skull.
Present-day cormorants are currently placed in one family (Phalacrocoracidae)
and three genera — Phalacrocorax , Haliëtor , and Nannoptorum — the last (flight–
less or Harris’s cormorant) being monotypic and confined to the Galapagos Archi–
pelage. The parts of the world in which cormorants breed northward to the Arctic
Circle and beyond are ( 1 ) northern Europe, where the common cormorant ( P. carbo )
and shag ( P. aristotelis ) occur on Iceland and along the coast of Norway and the
Murman Coast; ( 2 ) extreme northeastern Siberia, where the red-faced cormorant
( P. urile ) and the pelagic cormorant ( P. pelagicus ) range westward an undetermined
distance from East Cape (Dezhneva); and ( 3 ) Greenland (the common cormorant
breeds in southern Greenland, possibly northward to and even beyond the Arctic

EA-ORn. Sutton: Cormorant

Circle). The extinct Pallas’s cormorant ( P. perspicillatus ) inhabited Bering
Island and may well have bred even farther north. The double-crested cor–
morant ( P. auritus ), a North American species, is both a coastal bird and a
bird of the interior. It ranges northward along the Pacific coast as far as
southwestern Alaska; in the interior to central Alberta, central Manitoba, and
James Bay; and along the Atlantic coast to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and New–
foundland. The Japanese cormorant ( P. capillatus ) ranges northward to Korea,
Japan, and Quelpart Island.
Wherever cormorants nest in arctic or subarctic regions they do so along
the coast, not in the interior. Their breeding places are cliffs or rocking
offshore islets. The arctic and subarctic forms are relatively nonmigratory.
The ocean waters near their breeding grounds stay open the year round, so a
constant food supply (fish) is available.
For further information concerning cormorants, see Phalacrocoracidae,
Phalacrocorax , Common Cormorant, Green Cormorant or Shag, Red-faced Cormorant,
Pallas’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, and Double-crested Cormorant.
75. Double-crested Cormorant . A well-known North American pelecaniform
bird, Phalacrocorax auritus, which breeds not only along the seacoast but on
fresh water in the interior. There are four geographical races, the most
northward-ranging of which is cincinatus , the so-called White-crested Cormorant,
which breeds on the Pacific coast from Washington to St. Lazaria and Forrester
Islands, Alaska; Kodiak Island; and Carlisle Island of the eastern Aleutians;
and which appear to be wholly coastal. The race inhabiting interior Canada
and northeastern North America is auritus , which breeds northward to central
Alberta, central Saskatchewan, central Manitoba, the southeast coast of James
Bay, the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Newfoundland. Formerly

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cormorant

it ranged northward down the Labrador at least as far as Hamilton Inlet,
and possibly even farther, though it is absent from that coast today (Austin).
Since it nests on bare cliffs and rocky islets as well as in trees, there
would seem to be no reason for its not ranging much farther north along the
Atlantic coast than it does. The coast of southern Alaska is, of course,
warmer than that of Labrador, so in a sense the present-day Atlantic population
of the species is more boreal than that of the Pacific, despite the discrep–
ancy in latitude. The two other races of double-crested cormorant are the
Florida cormorant ( floridanus ) of the southeastern United States, Cuba, the
Isle of Pines, and the Behamas; and the Farallon cormorant ( albociliatus ) of
the western United States, Baja California, and the Revilla Gigedo Islands.
The double-created Cormorant is 30 to 35 inches long and is glossy green–
ish black on the head neck, and under parts, and bronzy gray on the upper
part of the body. Each of the back feathers scapulars, and wing coverts is
edged with black. In nuptial plumage there is a conspicuous tuft of curly
black and white feathers on each side of the head. The bill is gray, and the
naked skin of the face and gular pouch is orange or orange-yellow. The mouth–
lining is more or less blue. The eyes are green, the feet black. Young birds
are grayish brown above, darker on the rump, grayish white on the breast,
blackish brown on the abdomen, and the gular pouch is dull yellow.
Many pairs of double-crested cormorants usually nest together, the nests
sometimes being only a few feet apart. Some colonies establish themselves on
low islands in salt water, placing the nests on rocks well above the high-water
mark. Nests frequently are placed in trees. The eggs, like those of most
Cormorants, are pale bluish green in ground color, with a chalky covering.
Both sexes incubate. The incubation period is about 25 days (Lewis). The

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cormorant and Gannet

young are completely naked, blind, and purplish black at the time of hatching.
When about 10 days old a short black down covers them. They remain in their
nests until they are well grown. When their wing and tail feathers reach
considerable length they leave the nests and gather in companies along the
shore. When the thickset body plumage has grown in, they take to the water
and learn to capture their own food. They do not fly until they are about 8
weeks old.
References:
<bibl> 1. Austin, O.L. The Birds of Newfoundland Labrador . Cambridge, Mass., Nuttall
Ornithological Club, Sept. 1932, p.33. The Club Mem . Vol.17. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Gross, O. “The present status of the Double-crested Cormorant on the coast
of Main,” Auk. Vol.61, pp.513-37, 1944. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Lewis, H.F. The Natural History of the Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacro
corax auritus auritus (Lesson)) . Ottawa, Quebec Society for the
Protection of Birds, 1929. </bibl>
76. Gannet . A large pelecaniform bird, Morus bassanus, found on both
sides of the North Atlantic and frequently referred to as the solan goose. It
is the largest, and probably the best known, species of the family Sulidae
(gannets and boobies). Several detailed studies of its anatomy and behavior
have been made. In North America it now breeds at the following places:
Bon [: ]venture Island; Gull Cliff Bay, Anticosti; the Bird Rocks in the Megdalens;
and Cape Saint Mary, Bacalieu Island, and Funk Island, Newfoundland. Formerly
it nested also on Gannet Rock, Grand Manan, New Brunswick, and on the Perroquet
Islands, near Mingan, Quebec. In the Old World it nests at numerous localities
from the British Isles northward to the Outer Hebrides, Orkneys, Shetlands,
Faeroes, and Iceland. The northernmost colony in the world is on the islet of
Grimsey off the north coast of Iceland.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gannet

In 1939, during one breeding season, 27 experienced observers made a
census of all known gannet breeding colonies except for a small number con–
taining about 2.5% of the world population. The 22 breeding colonies, of
which 13 were in Britain and the Faeroes, 3 in Iceland, and 6 in the Gulf of
St. Lawrence, contained 165,000 ± 9,500 breeding individuals. Fisher and
Vevers (1944), in reporting on this census, estimated that in 1834 the world
population of gannets was about 334,000 breeding individuals. So widely were
the birds and their eggs used for food that the population dwindled to about
106,000 breeding individuals by 1894, but since that time most colonies have
been protected and there has been a steady up-climb, especially in southwest
Britain.
For nesting the gannet requires cliffs which are close to good fishing
grounds. In b B ritain its good consists of herring, mackerel, coalfish or
saithe (family Gadidae), Pollack of lythe, codling, whiting, haddock, power
cod, sand eel (family Ammodytidae), salmon smolt, sea trout, gurnard, garfish
(family Belonidae), spart, pilchard, and anchovy (Gurney).
In winter the species ranges southward to Morocco, the Azores, the Can–
aries, and the Gulf of Mexico. It has been reported in winter from the Medit–
terranean and Baltic seas, the coast of Norway, Finland, southern Greenland
(Julianehaab, Kaersok, Nanortalik), East Greenland (Syd Kap, Scoresby Sound),
Jan Mayen, and Bear Island. Most birds which wander north of their breeding
grounds in winter probably are young.
The gannet is a heavy-bodies bird 3 feet long, with a wingspread of about
6 feet. When adult it is white with black primaries and a pale buffy-yellow
wash on the back of the head and beck. The bill is light bluish gray; the
feet black, darkest on the webs; the eyes yellowish white. Young birds are

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gannet

brownish gray, speckled finely all over, especially on the head and neck,
with white. The fully adult plumage is not attained until the third year,
subadult birds being piebald.
The gannet’s diving from the air is truly spectacular. Checking its
flight over a shoal of fish, it plunges obliquely (sometimes vertically) 40
feet or more headfirst, with wings half closed, then shuts its wings as, with
a resounding whack, it strikes the surface, splashing the water upward 10 feet
or more. It is usually called a “surface feeder,” yet it has been taken in
nets at depths as great as 80 feet. Sometimes large companies of gannets
fish together, forming a line which moves gradually upwin g d , each bird reach–
ing a position above the fish, diving, reappearing, shaking the water from
its plumage as it rises in flight, then coursing round to the rear of the line,
and moving forward into position for another dive.
The nest is a mass of seaweed, grass, campion ( Silene ) and the like,
place on a ledge or the top of a rocky islet. Usually there is but one egg,
sets of two probably being the product of two females. The egg has a chalky
surface layer, which usually obscures the blue ground color, and which quickly
becomes nest-stained. The yolk is said to be unusually small. The period of
incubation is 42 to 45 days. Both sexes assist in the incubation. Nesting
usually starts in April (exceptionally in late March) and continues all sum–
mer, partly because predation delays the process. One brood is reared per
year. Complete fledging of the young requires four months or more. The 12–
to 13-weeks-old bird, which weighs more than its parents, is deserted by them
(as is the case among most if not all procellariiform birds) and left to live
upon its own stored fat for ten days or more. Eventually is makes its way to
the sea, where for some time it devotes its energy to swimming and diving
rather than flying.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gannet and Green Cormorant

The gannet is a silent bird save on its nesting ground, where it produces
a babel of guttural and discordant noises, among them a strident urrah , urrah ;
a long-drawn-out, wailing yee-orrrr , and the hunger cry of the young bird, a
high-pitched uk (Kirkman).
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Fisher, James and Vevers, H.G. “The breeding distribution, history and
population of the North Atlantic Gannet ( Sula bassana ),”
J. Animal Ecol . Vol.13, pp.49-62, 1944. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Gurney, J.H. The Gannet, a Bird with a History . London, witherby, 1913. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Vevers, H.G. and Evans, F.C. “A census of breeding Gannets ( Sula bassana )
on Myggenaes Holm, Faeroes,” J. Animal Ecol . Vol.7, pp.298-302,
1938. </bibl>
# # #
77. Green Cormorant ( Shag ). A well-known pelecaniform bird, Phalacrocorax
aristotelis ( P. graculus of many reference works), found along the coasts of
Europe and northern Africa. Three races currently are recognized — ( 1 ) arist o–
telis, which breeds in Iceland and the Faeroes, from the coast of Norway northward
and eastward through the western part of the Murman Coast, and on the British
Isles, the Channel Islands, and the west coast of France, Spain, and Portugal;
( 2 ) desmarestii , which breeds on islands and rocky coasts of the Mediterranean
from the Balearic Islands of Greece (including the Adriatic Sea), and ( 3 ) riggen
bachi , which breeds on the “west coast of Morocco from Mogador to Cape Blanco
north” (Peters). It is strictly a coastal (i.e., a salt water) bird. It ap–
parently migrates but little, since the ocean waters near its breeding grounds
stay more or less open the year round. In the British Isles, where it is

EA-Orn. Sutton: Green Cormorant

called the shag, it is said to be a “scarce visitor inland.” Its distribution
probably depends largely on two factors — the availability of cliffs or rocky
islets on which to place its nests, and the abundance of such salt water fish
as plaice, sillock, wrasse, herring, sprat, and sand eels ( Ammod v y tes ). Of
188 green cormorant specimens collected off Cornwall, 37% had eaten nothing
but sand eels (Steven.).
David Lack has pointed out that although the green cormorant and common
cormorant “appear to overlap widely in ecology” along thesouthwest, west, and
north coasts of Britain, they actually “differ widely in both nesting and feed–
ing requirements.” Both species nest on rocky places overlooking the sea,
but the green cormorant selects caves, holes, hollows among boulders and narrow
cliff ledges, while the common cormorant nests on broad ledges or the flat tops
of stacks and islets. The green cormorant feeds mainly out at sea, seeking
sheltered waters only during stormy weather, while the common cormorant feeds
regularly in the shallow waters of estuaries and harbors as well as inland
on large rivers and reservoirs.
The green cormorant is about 2 1/2 feet long. The adult is glossy green–
ish black all over, the back feathers and scapulars each being narrowly bor–
dered by velvety black. In full nuptial plumage there is an elongate, foreward–
curled crest in the middle of the crown, and a scattering of fine, cured white
filoplumes all over the neck. The bill is black, with pale orange-yellow base.
The naked skin about the eyes is of about the same shade of orange-yellow,
and the gular sac is black, thickly spotted with yellow. The eyes are sea
green. Young birds in their first flight plumage are dark brown above and
brownish white below. A more or less complete molt gives them their first
winter plumage, which is like the juvenal plumage, but more colorful, the

EA-Orn. Sutton: Green Cormorant

feathers of the back being edged with velvety black. This plumage is molted
when the bird is 12 to 18 months old. The second winter plumage is much like
that of the adult in winter, but the chin is brownish white and the rest of
the under parts are brown mixed with dark glossy green. When the bird is
about 2 1/3 years old at assumes the fully adult plumage.
The green cormorant’s nest is a pile of seaweed mixed with other vege–
tation and debris. The eggs, which number 2 to 6, are pale blue in ground
color, with a chalky-white outer layer. Early eggs frequently are destroyed
by heavy seas, so fresh eggs have been found as late as May, June, and even
later (British Isles). Both sexes incubate. The incubation period is 24 to
27 days The young, when hatched, are brown-skinned, completely naked, and
blind. The down, which comes in presently, in very thick and brown, whitish
at the base. This is shed as the juvenal feathers develop.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Lack. David. “The econolgy of closely related species with special ref–
erence to Cormorant ( Phalacrocorax carbo ) and Shag ( P. aris
totelis ),” J. Animal Ecol ., vol.14, pp.12-16, 1945. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World , Cambridge, Mass. Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931, vol.1, p.89. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Steven, G.A. “The food consumed by shags and cormorants around the
shores of Cornwall (England),” Marine Biol. Ass. U.K. J . vol.19,
n.s., pp.277-92, 1933. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Morus and Pallas’s Cormorant

78. Morus ( Moris ). A genus of the family Sulidae (gannets and boobies)
composed of three very similar species — the common gannet or solan goose
( M. bassanus ) of the North Atlantic; the Cape Gannet or malagash ( M. capensis )
of South African coasts; and the Australian gannet ( M. serrator ) of Australia,
Tasmania, and New Zealand. The genus is closely related to, the doubtfully
distinct from, Sula , the only other genus of the Sulidae. Morus has 12 tail
feathers (rather than 14 to 18); a thin median line of bare skin on the thr [: ] oat;
and a line of narrow transverse scutes on the tope of each toe and three rows
of such scutes leading up the front of the tarsus (rather than reticulate scales
on the tops of the toes and front of the tarsus). Birds of this genus are in–
habitants of cool waters, whereas all species of the genus Sula live in more or
less tropical oceans. The only species of the genus Morus which ranges into
arctic or subarctic waters is the common gannet, which breeds as far north as
the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Grims e y, off the north coast of Iceland, and which
wanders northward casually in winter as far as the coast of Norway, southern
Greenland, Bear Island, and Jan Mayen.
See Gannet.
79. Pallas’s Cormorant . An extinct pelecaniform bird, Phalacrocorax
perspicillatus , whose only known habitat was Bering Island of the Komandorski
group. It inhabited this island (specifically an off-shore islet known as
Arii Kamen or Are-Kamen) until about 1850. It was the largest living cormorant
of its time. It weight, according to Pallas, was 12 to 14 pounds. The
largest present-day species — the common cormorant ( P. carbo and the flightless
cormorant ( Nannopterum harrisi ) — are considerably less heavy. It probably
was nonmigratory, as is the red-faced cormorant ( P. urile ), which has a similar,
though far less restricted, range.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Pallas’s Cormorant

In winter it was glossy black all over, without markings or decorative
feathers of any kind. In full nuptial plumage it was adorned with two prom–
inent crests — one coronal, the other occipital; a large white patch on
either flank; and some thinly dispersed, long, narrow, hairlike, straw–
colored (or white) filoplumes on the face and upper part of the neck. The
bill probably was dark brown. Pallas described the naked skin at the base
of the bill as “varied with vermilion, blue, and white as in the Turkey,”
though Gould described it as “apparently rich orange.” The eyes were sur–
rounded by a featherless area which was white according to Pallas, but orange
according to Gould. In any event, this naked space was responsible for the
name “Spectacled Cormorant” by which the species was sometimes known.
When Steller was wrecked on Bering Island in 1741, he found Pallas’s
cormorant numerous there. According to Stejneger, the inhabitants of the
Komandorskis affirmed that the reason for the species’ extinction was that
“it was killed in great numbers for food.” This was probably true, although
what Stejneger himself reported concerning an “epidemic disease” which struck
the pelagic cormorants of Cooper and Bering Islands in the winter of 1876-77
leads us to suspect that some such malady may have been partly responsible
for the disappearance of Pallas’s cormorant.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Baird, S.F., Brewer, T.M. and Ridgway, R. “The water birds of North Amer–
ica. Vol.2,” Harvard Univ. Mus. Comp. Zool. Mem . Vol.13, pp.
164-66, 1884. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Stejneger, Leonhard. “Results of ornithological explorations in the Com–
mander Islands and in Kamtschatka,” U.S.Nat. Mus. Bull . no.29,
pp.180, 190, 1885. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Pelagic Cormorant

80. Pelagic Cormorant . A slender, not very large pelecaniform bird,
Phalacrocorax pelagicus , of the North Pacific. It is not pelagic in the
sense that many procellariiform birds are, for its inhabits coasts and littoral
islands rather than the high seas, but it never breeds in the interior on
freshwater as do the common cormorant ( P. carbo ) and double-crested cormorant
( P. auritus ). Two races of the pelagic cormorant are recognized. The northern
race, P. pelagicus pelagicus , which is usually called the violet-green cor–
morant, and which is known in Siberia as the Ijurgui and the Oorely (the same
word as Urile), breeds from Wrangel Island and the arctic coast of northeastern
Siberia (Cape Irkaipij, now Cape Schmidt; Koliuchin Island; East Cape, now
Cape Dezhnev), scattered islands in the Bering Sea (the Diomedes, St. Lawrence,
St. Matthew, Nunivak, and St. Paul), Sledge Island in Norton Sound, the Koman–
dorskis, and many of the Aleutians, southward on the Asiatic side to the Kurils
and Japan (Honshu), and on the American side to Cook Inlet, the Alexander
Archipelago, and the coastal islands of British Columbia. This form may winter
more or less regularly throughout its breeding range (whe re ver there is open
water) but it also moves southward as far as China and Puget Sound. The
southern race, P. pelagicus resplendens (Baird’s cormorant), which is probably
nonmigratory, breeds along the Pacific coast of North America from the southern–
most coastal islands of British Columbia south to Los Coronados Islands, Baja
California.
The pelagic cormorant is 22 to 28 inches long. Statements which emphasize
a size-difference between it and the red-faced cormorant ( P. urile ) are apt to
be misleading. The red-faced cormorant is a heavier, coarser-billed bird, to
be sure, but the two species are not greatly dissimilar in over-all length,
despite repeated reference to the pelagic cormoant as a “small, slender” bird.

EA-Orn. Sutton:Pelagic cormorant

In winter the pelagic cormorant is glossy greenish black all over, without
conspicuous crests or markings of any sort. In nuptial plumage, however, it
wears two noticeable crests, one of the crown, the other on the nape; a white
patch of soft feathers on each flank; and a scattering of delicate white filo–
plumes on the neck and sometimes the back. As the breeding season advances,
the papillae on the facial skin brighten, becoming a deep red. A fine Fuertes
painting, made direct from a freshly captured bird, shows the head and neck of
the species at the height of the breeding season. The legend on the plate re–
producing this drawing is, however, erroneous. The lower figure (No. 2)shows
Phalacrocorax pelagicus . The upper figure (No. 1) is of Phalacrocorax auritus
cincinatus , the white-crested cormorant (Dall et al .).
Stejneger has expressed a belief that the pelagic cormorant rears two
broods of young a summer on the Komandorski Islands. He observed small young in
many nests in May and again in “the first days of August,” to be sure; but in
basing his belief in the species’ two-broodedness on such observations, he may
have failed to allow for the heavy predation which must force many pairs to nest
late if they are to rear a brood at all. The rearing of a brood requires a long
time — at least 26 days for incubation and 6 weeks more for fledging, not to men–
tion nest-building and egg-laying. This late nesting should be studied further.
Young birds which are breeding for the first time may regularly nest late. Or,
pairs which have failed to bring out a brood early in the season may delay their
second attempt until a food supply to exactly the right sort is assured.
Many authors have described the breeding of this species on “the highest,
steepest and most inaccessible rocky cliffs” where the nests are “safe from
the depredations of foxes and men...” Great numbers of the birds usually

EA-Orn. Sutton: Pelagic Cormorant and Pelecaniformes

nest together, and the stench from a colony is said to be terrific. Nests
are used year after year, merely being added to before the 3 to 5 (sometimes
more) eggs are laid. The ground color of the eggs is pale greenish blue,
but a chalky surface-layer almost obscures this color. Both sexes incubate.
When gulls discover a school of fish in the Bering Sea the cormorants
for miles around are wont to gather promptly and, since the cormorants are
able to dive for the fish, the gulls have a difficult time obtaining anything
for themselves. Various species of gulls, notably the ring-billed ( Larus
delawarensis ), have repreatedly been observed to steal fish [: ] f rom brown pelicans
( Pelecanus occidentalis ) which rise to the surface after a successful dive, but
when a cormorant comes up with a fish, it holds its prey so firmly or swallows
it so quickly that no gull can steal it.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U. S. Nat. Mus. Bull . no.121, pp.271-78, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Dall, V W .H., and others. Alaska; History, Geography, Resources.
N. Y., Doubleday, 1901, plate opp. p.212 Harriman Alaska
Expedition , vol.2. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Stejneger, Leonhard. “Results of ornithological explorations in the
Commander Islands and in Kamtschatka,” U. S. Nat. Mus. Bull .
no.29, pp. 187-88, 1885. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Pelecaniformes

81. Pelecaniform e s. Pelecaniform e s. An avian order of large aquatic birds sometimes
known as the Steganopodes or totipalmate swimmers, which includes such well
known forms as the pelicans, cormorants, water turkeys or anhingas, tropic
birds, and man-of-war birds. Diverse as these are in some respects, they
are alike in possessing four toes which are joined with three webs. The
hallux (first or hind toe) is webbed to the second or inner toe (not to the
fourth, or outer) so the bird stands and swims with the webs pointed somewhat
inward. Throughout the order the tarsus is short and the tongue rather rudi–
mentary.
However opinion may differ as to the number of suborders needed for a
clear understanding of this group, taxonomists agree that living pelecaniform
birds belong to six families — the Phaëthontidae (tropic birds), Pelecanidae
(Pelicans), Sulidae (boobies and gannets), Phalacrocoracidae (cormorants),
Anhingidae (snakebirds, anhingas, or water turkeys), and Fregatidae (frigate
birds or man-or-war birds). In the Phaëthontidae there are 3 species all be–
longing to 1 genus ( Phaëthon ); in the Pelecanidae, 8 species belonging to 1
genus ( Pelecanus ); in the Sulidae, 9 species belonging to 2 genera l ( Sula and
Morus ); in the Phalacrocoracidae, 30 species belonging to 3 genera ( Phalacro
corax , Haliëtor and Nannopterum ); in the Anhingidae, 4 species belonging to 1
genus ( Anhinga ); and the Fregatidae, 5 species belonging to 1 genus ( Fregata ).
There are, in addition to these living forms, about 50 fossil forms belonging
to all the above-named families except the Fregatidae, as well as to three fam–
ilies composed wholly of fossil forms, the Cyphornithidae, Pelagornithidae,
and Odontopterygidae. Most of these fossil forms have been found in temperate
parts of Europe or North America, but a few have been found in Australia, and

EA-Orn. Sutton: Pelecaniformes

a still smaller number in Asia. Fossils ascribed to the Pelecanidae, Anhingidae,
and Phaëthontidae date back to lower Eocene times.
Many extant pelecaniform birds are oceanic and many are more or less trop–
ical. Since they are all piscivorous, their distribution coincides to a large
extent with that of certain fishes, a limiting factor in the breeding season
being the availability of nesting places. The most northward-ranging forms of
the order place their nests on cliffs or rocky islets, and do not depend on
vegetation either for protection against the wind and sun or as a means of
elevating the nest above ground.
No genus of the order is holarctic in distribution to the extent that the
procellariiform fulmar ( Fulmarus ) is. The most exclusively northern [: ] pelecani–
form bird probably is the red-faced cormorant ( Phalacrocorax urile ), which
breeds on the arctic coast of extreme northeastern Siberia and on various islands
in the Bering Sea, and does not range farther south in winter than the Komandor–
skis, Pribilofs, Aleutians, Kurils and Japan. This species is found only in
the North Pacific. Certain other cormorants breed to some extent in arctic
and subarctic regions but also along coasts much farther south. Thus the common
cormorant ( P. carbo ), which breeds as far north as Japan (and probably Sakhalin
and the Kurils) in the Pacific, and southern Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and the
Murman Coast in the Atlantic, breeds also in China, India, Africa, Australia,
and even New Zealand. The pelagic cormorant ( P. pelagius ), which is found only
in the North Atlantic, breed northward into the subarctic and arctic, but also
far to the southward of the Arctic Circle, respectively as far south as Lower
California and west coast of Morocco. The other three living cormorants
( Phalacrocorax capillatus , Heliëtor africanus , and H. pygneus ), discussed by

EA-Orn. Sutton: Pelecaniformes

Hartert do not range northward into subarctic regions.
The only species of the family Sulidae which ranges into the arctic or
subarctic is the gannet ( Morus bassanus ). This is a North Atlantic bird which
breeds locally on certain islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Near Newfound–
land and in Europe northward to Grimsey, off the north coast of Iceland, and
moves southward as far as the Gulf of Mexico and northern Africa in winter.
Pelecaniform birds are usually colonial in their nesting. The young of
most forms are blind and naked at hatching and remain long in the nest. The
eggs are a [: ] r ule are unspotted and covered with a chalky layer. The eggs of
tropic birds, however, are spotted and have no chalky covering; and newly
hatched gannets and tropic birds are down-covered. Some ornithologists believe
that the tropic birds are not pelecaniform, but charadriiform. Their spotted
eggs, downy young, body proportions, bill shape, and satiny plumage to suggest
close relationship with the terns (family Laridae), and it can be argued that
their totipalmate condition is a comparatively superficial character.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Hartert, Ernest. Vögel der Paläsrktischen Fauna Vögel der Paläsrktischen Fauna. Berlin, Frieländer,
1910-21. 2 vol. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Lanham, U.N. “Notes on the phylogeny of the Pelecaniformes,” Auk , vol.64,
pp.65-70, 1947. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Phalacrocoracidae.

82. Phalacrocoracidae. A family of aquatic, fish-eating birds ranging in size from the common
cormorant ( Phalacrocorax carbo ) and flightless cormorant ( Nannopterum har–
risi
), which are about 30 to 40 inches long, down to the pygmy cormorant
( Haliëtor pygmeus ), which is just under two feet long. It is the largest
family of the order Pelicaniformes, and contains 3 genera ( Phalacrocorax,
Haliëtor , and Nannopterum ) and 30 species — more species than in all the other
5 pelecaniform families combined. It is an ancient family, too, fossil
remains of several forms having been found in the New World and the Old dating
as far back as Eocene times.
A very special interest attaches to the family because an exclusively
boreal species, the Pallas’s cormorant ( Phalacrocorax Perspicillatus ), whose
sole known habitat was Bering Island, has become extinct within the past cen–
tury. This bird, which was the largest cormorant of its time, probably was
nonmigratory. The waters about Bering Island never froze and fish were always
available. Only five specimens of this bird are now in existence.
Another interesting fact about the family Phalacrocoracidae is that it has
been in existence long enough for one form to establish itself, and even to
become flightless, on certain islands of the Galapagos Archipelago. This bird,
which is known as the flightless (or Harris’s) cormorant, was discovered in
1898.
The closest relatives [: ] of the cormorants are the snakebirds or anhingas
(family Anhingidae), which by some [: ] systematists have been placed in the Phala–
crocoracidae and given subfamily ranking. The two groups to have certain im–
potant characters in common. Both have dense, almost uninterrupted, feather
covering; very short legs, placed far back in the body; more or less conspicuous
gular pouch and loose neck skin which accomodates itself to the swallowing of

EA-Orn. Sutton: Phalacrocoracidae

astonishingly large fish; and rather long, very stiff tail feathers. Points
of difference are these: 1 . The cormorants have a powerful, strongly hooked
bill with smooth cutting edge, the snakebirds a long, straight, very slender
bill with finely serrated cutting edge. 2 . The cormorants have a well–
developed occipital style. In the snakebirds this bone is very poorly devel–
oped. 3 . The tail of the snakebirds is proportionately longer than that of
the cormorants, and the middle rectrices are transversely corrugated or ribbed.
4 . The snakebirds’ wings are proportionately longer than the cormorants’,
permitting the bird to soar gracefully. Cormorants to not soar. 5 . The neck
of the snakebird can be doubled back upon itself in such a way as to assist
the bird in capturing fish, and also in streamlining its body for soaring
flight. The mechanism probably involves a modification of bones, muscles,
and tendons.
Cormorants are long and powerful of body and stand upright, sometimes
using their tails as props. Their tail bones and muscles are well developed.
They swim and dive expertly, using their wings a great deal when maneuvering
under water. In most species the throat and fact are naked and the eyes green
or blue. The plumage is usually compact, dark colored, and glossy. Several
species are boldly marked with white in adult plumage, but dull brownish gray
(lighter below) in their first winter plumage. Others are dull olive gray all
over at all seasons. The head is often crested in the breeding season, and the
head and neck are sometimes decorated with soft, white, filamentous feathers
which drop off when breeeding is over. The pelagic cormorant ( P. pelagicus )
of the North Pacific is a gorgeous creature at the height of its breeding sea–
son. Its black plumage is highly iridescent, and the two crests, the white
patch on each flank, the snowy filoplumes on the neck, and the rich red of the

EA-Orn. Sutton: Phalacrocoracidae

naked face are very showy.
The cormorants are almost cosmopolitan in distribution (save for the
central Pacific Ocean), ranging from the arctic coast of Siberia, southern
Greenland, Iceland, northern Norway and the Murman coast southward almost (if
not quite) to the Antarctic Circle, and being most abundant in the southern
Hemisphere. They are gregarious birds, sometimes nesting together in huge
colonies either by themselves or with other species. The distribution of these
colonies probably depends to a large extent on the food supply. Many species
nest only along the ocean shore, but others, such as the double-crested cor–
morant ( P. auritus ) of North America nest on inland lakes where food is abundant.
The nest is usually crudely built of twigs, debris or seaweed, placed on the
ground on an islet far out from shore, on the face of a cliff, or in a tree.
The eggs, which number 3 to 5 or more, have a pale bluish-green ground color,
but this is obscured by a rough and dirty surface layer of calcareous matter.
The young, which are utterly naked and helpless at the time of hatching, stay
in the nest for several weeks. They obtain food by reaching their heads into
the well-filled gular sacs of their parents.
The family p P halacrocoracidae is not heavily represented in boreal regions.
The red-faced cormorant ( P. urile ) is exclusively arctic and subarctic, being
found only in the Bering Sea and along the coast of extreme northeastern Siberia
(Cape Schmidt). The extinct Pallas’s cormorant, above referred to, may once
have had a somewhat similar distribution. The common cormorant ( P. carbo )
ranges farther northward in the Atlantic than in the Pacific, being found well
beyond the Arctic Circle (Norway and Murman coast) in Europe, and almost as
far north as the Arctic Circle in Greenland, but only as far as Japan, Sakhalin,
and the Kurls in Asia. The shag ( P. aristotelis ) is found only in the eastern

EA-Orn. Sutton: Phalacrocoracidae

North Atlantic. Its distribution along arctic and subarctic coasts is much
the same as that of P. carbo in north Europe, but it does not breed anywhere
in North America or Greenland. The pelagic cormorant ( P. pelagicus ) is found
only in the North Pacific. It ranges northward from southern China and Baja
California to the Bering Sea, being found on the arctic coast of eastern
Siberia, but not, apparently, on the arctic coast of Alaska, the shore there
presumably being too flat, or too free of offshore rocky islets
83. Phalacrocorax . A genus composed of 25 species of cormorants (family
Phalacrocoracidae), most of them rather large. In 11 species geographical
variation is so great that recognizable subspecies or races have evolved.
Thus the common cormorant ( P. carbo ), which is almost cosmopolitan in distri–
bution except for South America, is represented by no fewer than 8 subspecies,
two of which ( carbo and hanadae ) range into arctic or subarctic waters; the
double-crested cormorant ( P. auritus ) is represented by four races, one of
which ( P. auritus cincinatus ) ranges northward along the Pacific coast of
North America as far as Kodiak Island and the coast of the Alaska Peninsula;
the shag ( P. aristotelis ) is represented by three races, one of which ( aristo
telis ) nests northward beyond the Arctic Circle in Europe; and the pelagic
cormorant ( P. pelagicus ) is represented by 2 races, one of which ( pelagicus )
breeds northward in the Pacific Ocean to the Bering Sea and the arctic coast
of eastern Siberia. Two species, the red-faced cormorant ( P. urile ) and the
Pallas’s cormorant ( P. perspicillatus ) have had a limited range in the North
Pacific and have not varied geographically. The red-faced cormorant now breeds
on islands in the Bering Sea and northward to beyond the Arctic Circle on the
arctic coast of extreme northeastern Siberia, wintering no farther south than
the Kurils, Aleutians, Komandorskis, and Japan. Pallas’s cormorant has been

EA-Orn. Sutton: Phalacrocorax

extinct since 1852. Its sole known habitat was Bering Island.
Murphy (1936. Oceanic Birds of South America , 2: 870), commenting on
the distribution of cormorants, says: “In the northern hemisphere there
are many cormorants of a common type which have taken to the interiors of
the great continents and have thus become inland no less than coastal birds.
Some of these have also penetrated southward into Africa and Australia.
South America, however, has but one species of this stamp, namely Phalacrocorax
olivaceus , which is … equally at home in either salt water or fresh.” It
is true that some cormorants of the Northern Hemisphere are “inland as well
as coastal birds” (e.g., the double-crested cormorant of North America); but
the cormorants which breed in arctic and subarctic regions are all primarily
coastal, i.e., salt-water species, insofar as the arctic parts of their ranges
are concerned. An interesting fact about these boreal species is that they
are all relatively nonmigratory. Their nesting places are close to oceanic
waters which are open the year round, hence a supply of food is always avail–
able.
The genus Phalacrocorax is an ancient one, fossil species dating back to
the lower Miocene having been found in North America (Montana) and to the
lower Pliocene in Europe. Concerning certain Oligocene cormorants there is a
difference of opinion, some authors placing them in the genus Phalacrocorax ,
others in a separate genus, Oligocorax . One present-day species, P. auritus ,
has been reported from the Pleistocene of Florida and California. The genus
is now almost cosmopolitan, being found as far south as Tierra del Fuego, the
Falklands, South Georgia, New Zealand, and the scattered islands of that area,
and even the South Shetlands and South Ork [: ] neys . The most southward ranging of

EA-Orn. Sutton: Phalacrocorax and red-faced cormorant

all is the Antarctic blue-eyed shag ( P. atriceps subspecies), which inhabits
“the southerly islands of the Scotia Arc, including the South Sandwich, South
Orkney, and South Shetland groups; and the islands of the Antarctic Archipelago
southward to latitude 65° S., or beyond” (Murphy, op. cit., p.889).
84. Red-faced Cormorant . A large pelecaniform (steganopod) bird, [: ]
Phalacrocorax urile , found only in the North Pacific and adjacent waters of
the Arctic Sea. It breeds on the arctic coast of eastern Siberia (at Cape
Schmidt and perhaps at other points); on Bering (Arii Kamen) and Copper Islands
in the Komandorskis; and on the Bogoslofs, the Pribilofs (St. Paul, St. George,
Otter, and Walrus islands), and certain of the eastern Aleutians (Adak, Akun,
and Amak). Reports of its breeding on the coast of Kamchatka and on the Kurils
have not been confirmed. It is apparently [: ] somewhat migratory, for it has been
seen in winter from the Komandorskis, Aleutians, and Pribilofs southward to
Kamchatka, the Kurils, and Japan, but it probably winters wherever there is
open water and a good fish supply. Early works, such as Kraschenninnikov’s
The History of Kamtschatka , referred to this bird as the ouril or urile (whence
the scientific name) but this native name was (and is) applied to cormorants
in general. In ornithological writing there has been such confusion concerning
the descriptions of, hence the correct names for, the three cormorants of the
Bering Sea, some descriptions seeming to apply almost equally well to the red–
faced species, the pelagic cormorant ( P. pelagicus ), and the now extinct
Pallas’s cormorant ( P. perspicillatus ).
The red-faced cormorant is about 30 inches long. Adults in winter are
glossy greenish black all over and without conspicuous crests. In nuptial
plumage, however, two glossy bronze crests appear on the head — one on the

EA-Orn. Sutton: Red-faced Cormorant

nape, the other on the crown; and a bold, snow-white patch appears on each
flank. The forehead is not feathered. The bill is bluish horn color (darker
along the culmen and at the tip); the naked skin of the forehead and face is
bright orange; and the gular sac is blue bordered at the near with purplish
red. The ey e s are said to be brown, but so many cormorants are normally green–
or blue-eyed that this report needs confirmation. Young birds in their first
flight plumage are dark brown and not easy to distinguish from young pelagic
cormorants, especially since the forehead is equally well feathered in the
two species at this stage. Red-faced cormorants do not assume fully adult
plumage until they are three or more years old.
The breeding season of the Red-faced Cormorant begins two or three weeks
earlier than that of most Bering Sea birds, the exceptions being the glaucous
and glaucous-winged gulls. Well incubated eggs have been found as early as
June 1, and young about a week old in mid-June. Since the gulls rob a great
many cormorant nests, some sets of eggs are laid late (probably as late as
July). The eggs number 3 to 5 and are pale bluish white in ground color, with
a rough chalklike covering. Stejneger tells us that the ground color of the
eggs is perceptibly bluer than that of pelagic cormorant eggs; that the newly
hatched young of urile can be distinguished from that of pelagicus by the
greater width of the bill at the base and the definitely white gular pouch;
and that somewhat older young are recognizable from the down (which is dusky,
tipped with brownish gray) and the large spot on each thigh which is dotted
with white ( [: ]1885. Bull. U. S. Natl. 29: 185).
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American petrels and pelicans and
their allies,” U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull . no.21, pp.279-82, 1922. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Krasheninnikov, S.P. Opisanie Zemli Kemchatki . St. Petersburg, Akad.
Nauk, 18 1755. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Shag and Sulidae

<bibl> 3. Palmer, Williams. “The avifauna of the Pribilof Islands,” Jordan, D.S.
The Fur Seals and Fur-Seal Islands of the North Pacific Ocean .
Wash. G.P.O. 1899, pt. 3, pp.373, 378. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Stejneger, L.H. “Results of the ornithological explorations — the Com–
mander Islands and in Kamtschatka,” U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull . no.29,
p. 185, 1885. </bibl>
85. Shag. 1 . The only common name in general use in Great Britain for
the green cormorant ( Phalacrocorax aristotelis ), q.v.
2 . A common name widely used among sailors and fishermen for
cormorants of any sort. The word is used in Australia, New Zealand, the Falkland
Islands, along the Labrador, in Newfoundland — in short, wherever English is
spoken. Except in Great Britain, the words cormorant and shag may be considered
interchangeable. In Great Britain the cormorant is the large common cormorant,
Phalacrocorax carbo; the shag is the considerably smaller green cormorant,
P. aristotelis ( P. graculus of many authors).
88. Sulidae . A family of large pelecaniform (Steganopod) sea birds, com–
monly known as the gannets and boobies. They range from about 28 to 36 inches
in length. They subsist wholly on fish, which they usually capture with a spec–
tacular plunge from the air. Their plumage is compace and rather hard, and under
the skin there is a thick layer of air cells which absorbs part of the shock in
diving. Their bill is stout, straight, pointed, and gradually tapering toward
the en[: d]. It is slightly curved at the tip, but never hooked as in the Phalacro–
coracidae (cormorants). Its cutting edges are finely serrated, as in the Angingidae

EA-Orn. Sutton: Sulidae

(snakebirds or darters). The upper mandible is angled in front of the lores
and there is a deep groove along the side of the culmen. In adults the
nostrils are completely closed, as in the cormorants. The lores, chin, and
part of the throat are more or less bare, but there is no well-defined gular
sac. The wings are long and pointed, the outermost primary being the longest.
The tail is long and wedge-shaped, and composed of 12 to 18 rectrices. The
scales of the tarsus and tops of the toes are reticulate in most species,
but in the gannet ( Morus bassanus ) there is a line of narrow transverse scales
on each toe which continues separately up the front of the tarsus. The tarsus
is shorter than the foot. The claw of the middle toe is pectinate along the
inner edge. Most species of the family nest on ledges on cliffs, or on the
ground on islands. Only one species — the red-footed booby ( Sula sula ) —
nests regularly in trees. Some species lay one egg, others two; one brood a
year is reared.
The Sulidae do not have syringeal muscles. Murphy has described in detail
the voice and vocal apparatus of the camanay or blue-footed booby ( Sula
nebouxii ). The cires of adult females and young birds of both sexes are
“strident, raucous trumpetings,” those of adult males mild and plaintive
whistles. “The change in the voice of the males comes with maturity, when the
delicate vibrating membrane of the vocal organ grows out to form a hard, egg–
shaped chamber, thus converting a trumpet into a whistle! The same mechanism,
or a similar one, appears to be present in most members of the family Sulidae.”
The Sulidae are an ancient family. Many fossil forms have been reported
from the Old World as well as the New, several of these dating back to Miocene
and Oligocene times, and two (the fossil genera ( Actiornis and Elopteryx ) to even

EA-Orn. Sutton: Sulidae

an earlier era. About 9 species are extant today, most of these being found
in tropical and temperate oceans. Two genera are currently recognized —
Morus , with 3 species ( M. bassanus of the North Atlantic; M. capensis of the
South African coast; and M. serrator of Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand);
and Sula , with 6 species, found principally in tropical oceans.
The only species of the family which ranges northward into subarctic
regions is the gannet or solan goose ( Morus bassanus ), which breeds in and
near the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the American side of the Atlantic; and from
England northward to the Faeroes, Orkneys, and the north coast of Iceland on
the European side.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Knowlton, F.H., and Ridgway, Robert. Birds of the World . N.Y., Holt,
1909, pp.133-36. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Murphy, R.C. Oceanic Birds of South America . N.Y., American Museum of
Natural History, 1936, vol.2, p.834. </bibl>

Ciconiiformes (Herons)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Herons

HERONS

Order CICONIIFORMES
Family ARDEIDAE
91. Ardea . See writeup.
92. ARDEIDAE. See writeup.
93. CICONIIFORMES . See writeup.
94. Common Heron. A name used in Great Britain for the gray heron
( Ardea cinerea ) ( q.v. ).
95. European Blue Heron. A name sometimes used in English-speaking countries
for the gray heron ( Ardea cin [: ] erea ) ( q.v. ).
96. Gray Heron. See writeup.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Ardea

91. Ardea . A genus of herons (family Ardeidae) containing 11 species,
all large and one of them ( A. goliath of Africa and irregularly India) the
largest heron of the world. The genus is found in all continents and ranges
from the Arctic Circle ( A. cinerea ) southward to the State of Chubut in
southern Argentina ( A. cocoi ) and to Australia and Tasmania ( A. pacifica ).
The range in color is considerable, most species being predominantly gray
on the back and upper surface of the wings, one species — A. occidentalis ,
the great white heron of North America — being white all over. Throughout
the genus adult birds have slender, limp, long occipital plumes or a crest on
the crown, and the scapulars are elongated into plumes; but no species of
the eleven is, properly speaking, an egret — i.e., adorned in the breeding
season with filmy back feathers such as those once widely used in making the
aigrettes of commerce. All members of the genus have strong, straight, sharply
pointed bills, and well-defined transverse (rather than reticulate) scales on
the front of the tarsus.
It is not apparent why the genus ranges somewhat farther north in the Old
World than the New. The great blue heron ( A. herodias ) of North America is very
similar to the gray heron ( A. cinerea ) of Eurasia. The great blue heron ranges
northward to southern Alaska on the Pacific side of the continent, and to the
Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Atlantic side, but at no point does it reach the
Arctic Circle. The gray heron, on the other hand, ranges northward to the Arctic
Circle and beyond in Norway, and possibly also in Russia and Siberia.
See Gray Heron and Ardeidae.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Ardeidae

92. Ardeidae . A family of storklike (ciconiiform) birds including the
herons, egrets, bitterns, and their allies. They are a fairly uniform group
with long legs designed for wading (and also, to a limited extent, for swim–
ming). They have four toes, three in front and one behind, with a short web
between the middle and outer front toes. The hind toe is on the same plane
with the front three, and the claw of the middle toe is usually pectinate
(comblike) on the inner side. The body is thin and compressed. The neck is
long and “kinked” at about the middle, the sixth vertebra being extraordinarily
long. This “kink” shows especially when the neck is doubled back for flight
or when the standing bird hunches itself up. The bill is long, straight, and
pointed. The wings are long but rounded, the second, third, and fourth pri–
maries being of about the same length. The lores and spaces about the eyes
are bare. In general the plumage is lax and somewhat fluffy, several species
wearing plumes on the lower back, chest, crown, and nape, especially in the
breeding season. Close to the skin, among the body plumage, there are two (in
some forms three) pairs of “powder down patches.” These curious, compact masses
of highly specialized feathers, which slough off a greasy powder (possibly a
waterproofing agent for the plumage), constitute a well-defined and much–
discussed character of the family.
The Ardeidae inhabit swamps, marshes, and river banks primarily, only a
few of them seeming to prefer the seacoast. They are almost cosmopolitan in
distribution, but are most numerous in tropical and subtropical regions. They
are usually colonial in their nesting, and most species nest wholly in trees.
They feed principally on fish, but also on other aquatic animals and such small
[: ] mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects as inhabit marshy places. Of the
more than 100 species, only one — the gray heron ( Ardea cinerea ) of the Old

EA-Orn. Sutton: Ardeidae and Ciconiiformes

World — ranges northward as far as the Arctic Circle, although three other
species, the great blue heron ( Ardea herodias ) of North America, the American
bittern ( Botaurus lentiginosus ) and the Old World bittern ( B. stellaris )
range well northward; and a few forms range as far southward as southern South
America, southern Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. The most northward–
and southward-ranging forms are large, but not the largest of the family.
The Ardeidae are an old group, the earliest known fossil form being from
the Eocene of England. Several present-day species have been reported from
the Pleistocene, and one extinct species which inhabited North America in
Pleistocene times is known from fossil remains obtained in Oregon.
93. Ciconiiformes . An order of deep-water wading birds found principally
in tropical and warm-temperate regions, and alike in being long-legged, long–
winged and long-necked, and in possessing four toes. Most of them are rather
soberly colored, but some — e.g., the scarlet ibis ( Guara rubra ) — are among
the most brightly plumaged birds known. The range in size is great, the least
bittern ( Ixobrychus exilis ) having a body about the size of a starling’s ( Sturnus
vulgaris ), whereas the majestic jabiru ( Jabiru mycteria ) of Central and South
America and the adjutants or marabou storks ( Leptoptilos ) of Asia and Africa
stand five feet or more high.
The Ciconiiformes are currently believed to include the large and widely
ranging family Ardeidae (herons and bitterns); the monotypic family Cochleariidae
(boat-billed heron of Mexico, Central America, and South America); the monotypic
family Balaenicipitidae (whale-headed stork or shoe-bill of Africa); the monotypic
family Sopidae (hammer-head or umbrette of Africa); the family Ciconiidae (the
true storks); the family Threskiornithidae (ibises and spoonbills); and the family
Phoenicopteridae (flamingos). Most of these birds have long bills and naked lores.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Ciconiiformes

The two most highly specialized families of the seven, the Balaenicipitidae
and Phoenicopteridae, are frequently given subordinal ranking. The first
of these, the whale-headed stork, is a remarkable bird about four feet high,
with a huge, broad, flattened bill which is concave in profile, strongly
ridged along the culmen, and provided with a hook at the tip. The flamingos
are so different in certain respects from all other birds that they might
well be placed in an order by themselves between the Ciconiiformes and the
Anseriformes. They have long, slender necks, each of the 18 cervical ver–
tebrae being extraordinarily long. Their curious bent-downward bill, the
upper mandible of which fits into the lower like a box fitting into its upside–
down lid, is unique in the bird world. And despite the length of the legs and
shortness of the toes, the three front toes and joined with webs.
The order Ciconiiformes is an ancient one, the easily recognizable
flamingos, in particular, datinh g back to very early times. The earliest
fossil ciconiiform bird known was from the Cretaceous of Denmark. A flamingo
reported from the Pleistocene of Oregon was very similar to the only genus
( Phoenicopterus ) which inhabits both the New World and the Old today. These
and several other fossil forms indicate that the Phoenicopteridae formerly
ranged much more widely than they do today, though it is highly doubtful that
they ever inhabited arctic or subarctic regions. Fossil flamingos were
shorter-legged and straighter-billed than those of today (Lambrecht, Kalman.
Handbuch der Palaeornithologie Handbuch der Palaeornithologie , Berlin, Gebruder Borntraeger, 1933).
The only family of the order which ranges at all regularly northward to
the Arctic Circle and beyond is the Ardeidae, one species of which, Ardea
cinerea (common or gray heron), breeds northward to latitude 70° N. in Norway

EA-Orn. Sutton: Ciconiiformes

and to unde r termined points in northern Russia and Siberia; occurs casually
on Iceland, Spitsbergen, and the Faeroes; and has been taken once on Greenland.
The closely related great blue heron ( Ardea herodias ) of the New World does
not range quite so far northward, though the original descript [: ] tion of the
species was based on a specimen from Hudson Bay, and there is one Greenland
record. Two bitterns (chunky members of the Ardeidae) — the common bittern
( Botaurus stellaris ) of the Old World, and the American bittern or thunder–
pumper ( Botaurus lentiginosus ) of the New, range well northward but probably
do not nest at all regularly as far north as the Arctic Circle. The American
bittern has been reported from Greenland, Iceland, and the Faeroes. Two Old
World species of the family Ciconiidae — the famous white stork ( Ciconia
ciconia ) and the black stork ( Ciconia nigra ) — breed northward to about lat–
itude 60° N. in Europe and eastward through Russia and Asia to China. One
member of the Threskiornithidae — the glossy ibis ( Plegadis falcinellus ) —
has been reported from such northern points as Iceland, the Faeroes, the
British Isles, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, but these records probably repre–
sent late summer wandering. In the North Temperate Zone many ciconiiform
birds tend to wander northward after nesting.
All northward-ranging ciconiiform birds are distinctly migratory. They sub–
sist largely on fish, amphibians, and other aquatic animals, occasionally cap–
turing such prey as mice, other small mammals, and birds, on which they might
concievably feed north of the northern limit for amphibians and snakes. Another
limiting fact is nest sites. While many ciconiiform birds (such as the bitterns)
nest regularly on the ground in a marshy place, other nest principally, if not
wholly in trees. The most northward-ranging form of the order, the common heron
referred to above, sometimes nests among reeds or shrubbery in a marsh, or even

EA-Orn. Sutton: Ciconiiformes and Gray Heron

on a cliff, hence may breed successfully somewhat north of the tree limit in
Scandinavia, northern Russia, and Siberia.
96. Gray Heron . A well-known Old World bird, Ardea cin c erea , which is
known in Great Britain as the common heron, is closely related to the great
blue heron ( Ardea herodias ) of North America and may possibly be conspecific
with that form. It is the only member of the heron family (Ardeidae) which
breeds northward to the Arctic Circle and beyond. Three races are recognized,
cinerea , which breeds throughout the greater part of Europe and western Asia,
at scattered points in Africa, and on the Canary Islands, and which ranges
north to latitude 70° N. in Norway and perhaps even farther north (presumably
along forested river banks) in north Russia and in northern parts of west
Siberia; jouyi , which breeds in eastern Siberia, eastern China, Japan, Formosa,
and Hainan; and firasa , which breeds on Madagascar, Aldabra, and the Comoro
Islands. The two northern races are probably much more migratory than the ex–
clusively African firasa . The European race winters in the Mediterranean
countries and in Africa. It wanders widely (young birds especially) in late
summer, and has been recorded causally from various parts of Scandinavia, the
Faeroes, Spitsbergen, and Iceland, and once from Greenland.
The gray heron is a large bird, measuring 3 feet or more from the tip of bill
to tip of tail, and standing 3 to 4 feet high. It is blue-gray on the upper
part of the body and in flight appears to be solid gray. In adult plumage the
forehead and crown are pure white, bordered at each side with a [: ]broad black
line. These lines meet on the nape, forming a long, limp crest of slender
black feathers. The rest of the head is light gray, lightest on the [: ] chin and
throat. The neck is light buffy gray with a pinkish tinge. A line of black
spots in the middle of the throat and foreneck lead down to the plumed chest.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Gray Heron

The under parts are white, with a black patch on each side of the breast and
broad black streaks in the middle of the belly. The bill is brown above, yellow
below and at the base. The naked area about the eyes is green. The irides are
light yellow. The feet are dull brown. Young birds are much less boldly pat–
terned than adults and have no plumes of any sort, though the feathers of the
crown are long and narrow. The forehead and crown are gray, not white. The
lower part of the head is white, however, and clear enough to be visible at
some distance in the field.
Since the gray heron eats a great variety of animal life (principally
fish, but also small mammals and birds, amphibians, mollusks, and insects)
its northward limits-of-range probably do not coincide with those of any one
food-species, or even with a small group of food-species, though its colonial
nesting habits demand a large supply of animal food of some sort for several
weeks in summer. At the northern limit-of-range it probably does not attempt
to bring out two broods a season, though at more southerly latitudes it may
regularly be two-brooded. It usually nests in trees, but occasionally it nests
among reeds on the ground, in low bushes, or on cliffs. Its ability thus to
adapt itself may well be responsible for its spread northward. Where there are
cliffs with southern exposure (i.e., protected from the north wind) and a de–
pendable food supply, the gray heron may nest northward even well beyond the
tree limit. The nest is a broad, shallow affair built of twigs. The eggs,
which are light blue, number 4 or 5. The female is believed to do most of the
incubating, though the male occasionally assists. The incubation period is 25
to 28 days. The nestlings developed rather slow ing ly , subsisting on food which the
parents swallow afield and regurgitate at the nest.

Anseriformes (Swans, Geese, Ducks)

EA-Orn. Sutton: Swans

SWANS

Order ANSERIFORMES ; Suborder ANSERES
Family ANATIDAE; Subfamily ANSERINAE
Tribe CYGNINI
97. ANSERIFORMES . See writeup.
98. Bewick’s Swan. See writeup.
99. Cygnini. See writeup.
100. Cygnus . See writeup.
101. Trumpeter Swan. See writeup.
102. Whistling Swan. See writeup.
103. Whooper Swan. See writeup.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Swans, Anseriformes

97. Anseriformes . A large and important order containing (a) the suborder
Anhimae (screamers) of South America and (b) the world-ranging suborder Ans [: ] res
(swans, geese, ducks, and allies), many of which breed in the Far North exclu–
sively or northward to the Arctic Circle and beyond. The Anhimae are anomalous
birds (2 genera, 3 species) about the size of a domestic turkey hen, with small
head, chicken-like bill, thick but not very long legs, and thick, excessively
long, unwebbed toes. Their feathering is almost continuous. They are unique
among present-day birds in that their ribs are without uncinate processes.
They inhabit marshlands and open flat country. They are so different in general
appearance from the swans, geese, and ducks that the two groups do not seem to
be even distantly related, yet all swans, geese, ducks, and screamers possess
two pairs of tracheo-sternal muscles — “a marked point of distinction from
other Carinate birds” (Evans).
The numerous members of the suborder Anseres are currently believed to
belong to but one family, the Anatidae: so the Anseres and Anatidae are actually
the same birds. Despite the great diversity of size and color among them, they
are easily recognizable as anseriform. Anyone can identify a swan, goose, or
duck almost immediately from its general appearance and behavior — its webbed
feet, shortish legs, waddling gait, and so on. Throughout the suborder (family)
the feet have four toes, three in front and one behind, the hind one somewhat
elevated, the front three joined by full webs — except in the pied, magpie,
or semipalmated goose ( Anseranas semipalmata ) of Australia. The tarsi are never
very long, so the birds when standing or walking have a squat, low-hung appear–
ance. Generally speaking, the neck is very long in the swans, shorter in the
geese, and still shorter in the ducks. The plumage is compact and waterproof,
the contour feathers having only rudimentary aftershafts or no aftershaft at all,

EA-Orn. Sutton: Anseriformes

but the under coat of down being very dense and soft. In many (perhaps all)
species a special set of down feathers develops about the time nesting starts.
Throughout the Anseres (Anatidae) the bill is covered with a thin skin
and the upper mandible has a horny plate or “nail” at the tip. All swans,
geese, and ducks have a more or less flat bill, along the sides of which
there are rows of fine lamellae or strainers. These are responsible for the
names Lammelirostres and lamellirostral swimmers, by which the suborder is
sometimes known. The mergansers or sawbills have narrow, serrate bills designed
for capturing fish.
In swans (Cygnini) and true geese (Anserini) the tarsi are covered with
reticulate scales; but in most ducks there is a row of transverse scutes along
the front edge of the tarsus. The wings are rather long in most Anseres, the
primaries numbering 11, the outermost of which is stiff but so small that it
looks like a primary covert. One present-day genus, Tachyeres (steamer ducks
of southern South America and the Falklands) can fly when young, but by the
time the birds reach maturity they paddle themselves about with their wings,
and do not fly at all.
All swans, geese, and ducks swim well, and some are expert divers. The
geese, which are famous as grazers, walk well. Some ducks, among them the
Muscovy ( Cairina moschata ) of the New World tropics, are decidedly arboreal.
The so-called tree ducks (Dendrocygnini) are far less arboreal than the name
suggests: some of them never alight or nest in trees.
Throughout the Anseres the nest is lined with down; the eggs are hard–
shelled and without markings; and the young are down-covered at hatching. In
most species the sets of eggs are large. Some forms (especially certain true
geese) appear to be colonial, but this may result from necessity for nesting

EA-Orn. Sutton: Anseriformes

close together where only a limited number of suitable nest sites are available.
There are striking differences in nesting behavior. Swans and true geese stay
paired throughout the breeding season (and perhaps for life), the males standing
guard while the females incubate. So close-knit are family groups of swans
and true geese that normally they migrate southward and even pass the winter
together. Among mergansers and certain other ducks, however, the males leave
the females once the sets of eggs have been completed and incubation has begun.
The females proceed with hatching the eggs and rearing the broods, while the
males band together in far-removed areas, there to undergo the molt. Adult
Anseres pass a completely flightless period after breeding, for all their wing
feathers then drop out simultaneously. In late summer great numbers of geese
are killed in certain parts of the Arctic, for the native peoples know exactly
where the molting birds are to be found.
The Anseres number about 200 species, which Peters places in one family,
ten subfamilies, and about 60 genera. Delacour and Mayr, in a well-illustrated
and thought-provoking paper, have recently proposed the recognition of two
major groups, to which they give subfamilial rank: ( 1 ) the Anserinae —
including the “tribes” Anserini (true geese and swans) and Dendrocygnini
(whistling ducks or tree ducks); and ( 2 ) the Anatinae — including the “tribes”
Tadornini (sheldrakes), Anatini (river ducks), Aythyini (pochards), Cairinini
(perching ducks), Mergini (sea ducks and merganers), Oxyurini (stiff-tailed
ducks), and Merganettini (torrent ducks). Most earlier systems of classifica–
tion were “based exclusively on a small selection of morphological characters,
[: ] primarily on the shape of the bill and feet.” The Delacour-Mayr
system, however, is based on non-adaptive morphological characters, such as
the shape of the scales on the front of the tarsus; the plumage patterns of

EA-Orn. Sutton: Anseriformes

of adult and young birds; the presence or absence of a double annual molt;
posture; general body proportions; the shape and structure of the syrinx and
trachea; and such biological phenomena as pair formation, courtship display,
and nesting and feeding habits. Their investigations have revealed that
several so-called geese are really very closely related to the ducks. The
“false” geese, which they have removed from the Anserinae and placed in the
Anatinae, are: Anseranas (pied or semipalmated goose), Plectropterus (African
spur-winged goose), Cereopsis (Cape Barren goose), Cyanochen (Abyssinian blue–
winged goose), Chenonetta (maned goose) and Chloëphaga (kelp goose and allies).
The beautiful Coscoroba ( C. coscoroba ) of South Ameria, on the other hand,
they have removed from the Anatinae and placed in the Anserinae, close to the
swans.
Surely these authors are justified in dividing the Anseres (Anatidae)
into two subfamilies, and the division into “tribes” too is useful. There are
cogent arguments, however, for placing the swans (and Coscoroba ) in a tribe
separate from the true geese. The reader is referred to the beginning of the
ornithological section of the Encyclopedia Arctica for a concise classification
of arctic anseriform birds.
The Anseres (Anatidae) are cosmopolitan in distribution, and many forms
are distinctly northern. Most genera and many species which breed in the Arctic
or Subarctic have a circumboreal distribution, being equally common in the New
World and the Old. Some species which nest in the Arctic as well as in more
southerly latitudes have developed specialized nesting habits in the north.
Thus the red-breasted merganser ( Mergus serrator ), which nests under shrubbery
on gently sloping islets or lake shores in the northern United States and
southern Canada, nests on high cliffs in Baffin Island.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Anseriformes

Many fossil anseriform birds have been described. Gallornis , from the
Lower Cretaceous of Austria, is said to stand morphologically between the
ducks and the swans. Romainvillia of France and Eonessa of North America
represent the upper Eocene: the former displays characters intermediate
between those of modern anseriform birds; the latter, on the basis of sev–
eral wing bones, has been placed in a separate tribe near the Oxyurini. Ducks
and swans of modern tribes first appeared in the Oligocene of Europe. Cygnus
has been reported from the Miocene of both Europe and America. Anser appeared
in the Miocene of Europe, but the only known contemporaneous true goose of
North America was the extinct Presbychen . Ducks, geese, and swans ranged
widely in both Europe and America in the Pliocene. Branta and Mergus appeared
in the Pliocene. “The indications are that the order Anseriformes had its
origin and early development on the European continent and began its real
spread elsewhere about the middle of the Tertiary period” (Howard).
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References;
<bibl> 1. Delacour, Jean, and Mayr, Ernst. “The family Anatidae,” Wilson Bull . vol.
57, pp.2-55, 1945. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Evans, A.H. “Birds,” Cambridge Natural History , vol.9, p.108, London and
New York, Macmillan, 1899. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Howard, Hildegarde. “Fossil evidence of avian evolution,” Ibis , vol.92,
no.1, pp.9-11, 1950. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Peters, J.L. Check-List of Birds of the World . Cambridge, Mass. Harvard
Univ. Press, 1931. Vol.1. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Scott, Peter. “Key to the Wildfowl of the World,” The second annual report
of the Severn Wildfowl Trust. London, Country Life Ltd.,
1948-49. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Bewick’s Swan

98. Bewick’s Swan . A large anseriform bird, Cygnus bewickii , which
closely resembles the well-known whooper swan ( Cygnus cygnus ), but is smaller.
Like that species it is wholly white, with black and yellow bill when adult;
but the yellow of the bill does not extend forward to [: ] the nostrils,
whereas in the whooper swan the yellow reaches forward to below the nostrils
or even farther. According to some authors, the bill of the adult Bewick’s
swan appears to be orange or even red in the field. Young Bewick’s swans
are pale brownish gray all over, with “slaty-pink” bills. They are much paler
than young whooper swans of the same plumage stage. The cry of the Bewick’s
swan has been described as a gooselike honk, “not in the least like that of
the whooper” (Trevor-Battye). Some authors believe that the Bewick’s swan
and whistling swan are conspecific.
Two races of Bewick’s swan are currently recognized — C. bewickii be
wickii , which breeds along the arctic coast of Eurasia from Kolguev Island
eastward to the Lena Delta (including the island of Novaya Zemlya), and winters
southward to the British Isles, north Europe, the Caspian Sea, and central
Asia; and the somewhat larger C. bewickii jankowskii , which breeds in Siberia
from the delta of the Lena to the delta of the Kolyma and winters southward
to China and Japan. At the mouth of the Yenisei the nominate race breeds
inland as far as Breokoffsky Island, at which point Haviland recorded it in
the summer of 1914. Bewick’s swan has been taken once in Spitsbergen. It
has been reported from Bear Island (Johnsen) and Vaigach (Jackson).
The species nests on low-lying ground close to water, usually on small
islands near the mouths of large rivers. The nest is a huge heap of moss
and other vegetation, “mixed with some mud,” and with a down-lined depression

EA-Orn. Sutton: Bewick’s Swan

in which the 3 to 5 creamy white eggs are laid. A nest found on Kolguev
Island was 2 1/2 feet high and 4 1/2 feet wide at the base (Trevor-Battye).
On Novaya Zemlya in 1903, Schaanning recorded the first arrivals from the
south on May 28; first eggs in nests on June 5; newly hatched young on July
16; and molting birds which were still unable to fly as late as August 23,
August 27, and September 1. At the mouth of the Kolyma, Buturlin noted
newly returned birds in mid-May, 1905. At the mouth of the Lena, Matiessen
took a set of 5 eggs on June 25, 1903. Only one brood is reared. The female
incubates while the male stands guard.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Buturlin, A.A. “The breeding-grounds of the Rosy Gull,” Ibis , vol.6,
ser.8, p.132, 1906. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Haviland, M.D. A Summer on the Yenesei . Lond., Arnold, 1915, p.59. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Pleske, Theodore. “Birds of the Eurasian tundra,” Boston Soc. Nat. Hist.
Mem . vol.6, no.3, p.311, 1928. </bibl> <bibl> 4. Schaanning, H.T.L. “Østfinmarkens fuglefauna. Ornithologiske meddelelser
vedrørende trakterne om Varangerfjorden, specielt Sydvarangers
fauna i aarene.1900-1906,” Bergens Mus. Aarb . 1907, no.8, p.78. </bibl> <bibl> 5. Tervor-Battye, Aubyn. Ice-Bound on Kolguev . 2d ed. lond., Constable, 1895,
pp.425-27. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cygnini

99. Cygnini . An anseriform tribe to which the Swans and the somewhat
anomalous Coscoroba belong. The Cygnini are large, distinctly aquatic birds,
notable for their graceful form and carriage while swimming. They are less
graceful on land, though they walk well. They are majestic in flight. They
often feed by tipping — i.e., feeding from the bottom while their body, the
tail end of it at least, stays at the surface. They are all very long necked.
In swans the cervical vertebrae number from 23 50 25, in the Coscoroba 21.
Throughout the Cygnini the sexes are colored alike, and in all but three species
the plumage of adults is pure [: ] white. Two genera of “true” swans are currently
recognized — Cygnus , which is well represented in arctic and subarctic regions;
and Chenopsis (black swan) of Australia and Tasmania. The position of the Cos–
coroba ( Coscoroba coscoroba ) is doubtful. Delacour and Mayr consider it closer
to Cygnus than to any other genus. Peters, however, lists it with the ducks.
Of the six species of Cygnus , five are confined largely to the Northern
Hemisphere and when adult have pure white plumage; while the only species of
the Southern Hemisphere, C. melanocoriphus (black-necked swan) of southern South
America and the Falkland Islands, is black throughout most of the head and upper
two-thirds of the neck, pure white elsewhere. The Coscoroba, also South American,
is white, save for the black wing tips.
The Cygnini are not colonial in their nesting. While further information
is needed concerning the nidification of some species, it is believed that through
the whole tribe the female does most, if not all, of the incubating, while the
male stands guard. The eggs number 3 to 5 as a rule, though sets of 78 to 12
have been recorded. All species are single-brooded. Most species have white or
cream-colored eggs, but the eggs of the mute swan ( Cygnus olor ) of the Old World

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cygnini and Cygnus

are pale bluish green. Swans’ nests are huge mounds of vegetation several
feet in diameter and two feet or so high. The incubation period is said to
be from 31 (captive birds) to 43 days. Family groups feed and move about to–
gether, the adults undergoing their postnuptial molt about the time the young
are obtaining their first flight plumage, so that the entire family takes to
the air [: ] together in late summer or early fall.
All northern swans are distinctly migratory. Families move southward in
a group and stay together most of the winter. Adults probably pair for life,
returning directly to the nesting spot they have used for years as soon as
the tundra is free of snow and food is available.
See Cygnus , Whooper Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Bewick’s Swan, and Whistling
Swan.
100. Cygnus . An anseriform genus composed of sic species of Swans, five
of which are northern in distribution (wholly or largely confined to the
Northern Hemisphere), and on southern — the black-necked swan ( C. melancori
phus ) of southern South America and the Falkland Islands. Of the northern
species, two are found only in the New World — the whistling swan ( C. colum
bianus ) and the trumpeter ( C. buccinator ); two are found only in the Old World —
the Bewick’s swan ( C. bewickii ) and the mute swan ( C. olor ); and one must be
considered common to both the New World and the Old, for it bred formerly in
southern Greenland. This species, the whooper swan ( C. cygnus ), breeds in
Iceland today, as well as across almost the whole of the Eurasian continent.
Only two species of the six have been split up into geographical races —
C. cygnus , one race of which breeds today only on Iceland, the other in Europe
and Asia; and C. bewickii , which is represented by one race in northern Europe

EA-Orn. Sutton: Cygnus and Trumpeter Swan

and western Siberia, and by another in eastern Siberia. The mute swan does
not range northward quite to the subarctic.
All the northern swans are pure white when adult, but grayish brown when
young. Throughout the genus the sexes are alike in color, males being somewhat
larger than females. The tarsus is rather short. In adults the lores are
naked. The tail is short and rounded (somewhat wedge-shaped in the mute swan).
The hind toe is not lobed.
The taxonomic position of two swans is doubtful. Delacour and Mayr (1945,
Wilson Bulletin 57:37) believe that the black swan of Australia belongs not in
the monotypic genus Chenopsis , but in Cygnus . The Coscoroba ( Coscoroba cos
coroba ) of South er America is a somewhat ducklike swan, which probably belongs
in a genus by itself, though some taxonomists might consider it an aberrant
Cygnus.
See CYGNINAE, Bewick’s Swan, Trumpeter Swan, Whistling Swan and Whooper
Swan.
101. Trumpeter Swan . A large North American anseriform bird, Cygnus buc
cinator, so named because of its “loud, resonant trumpetings.” It is consider–
ably larger than the whistling swan (C. columbianus), which also inhabits North
America. Adult males weigh 21 to 38 pounds (Kortright). A bend in its wind–
pipe, which the whistling swan does not have, probably is responsible for the
great carrying power of its voice. When adult its plumage is entirely white
and its bill and feet are black. Young birds are graying white, with light
reddish-brown cheeks and crown, flesh-colored bill, and dull yellowish-brown
feet. The color of the feet is a good diagnostic character, apparently, for
the feet of young whistling swans are flesh-colored. Some taxonomists believe
that the trumpeter swan and whooper swan ( C. cygnus ) are conspecific.

EA-Orn. Sutton: Trumpeter Swan

The trumpeter swan is a rare bird. It now breeds locally in British
Columbia, Alberta, Oregon, Montana, and Wyoming; but formerly it bred north–
ward as far as Fort Yukon, Alaska, the coast of northern Mackenzie, and James
Bay; and southward as far as Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Indiana. It never
was an arctic bird to the extent that the whistling swan is, having nested
north of the Arctic Circle only in the Franklin Bay district and (possibly)
Alaska. It apparently does not migrate much below the southern limits of its
breeding range today, but formerly it moved southward in winter as far as
the Gulf of Mexico (Louisiana and northeastern Mexico) and southern California.
The trumpeter swan nests on islands and old muskrat and beaver houses in
lakes far in the interior; but Roderick MacFarlane reported “several nests …
on islands in Franklin Bay” and one which was situated “near the beach on a
sloping knoll.” The eggs usually number 4 to 6 still larger sets probably
being the product of two females. Incubation presumably is entirely by the
female. The newly hatched downy young is dull white all over.
We can but assume that the killing of the birds on their nesting grounds,
especially during the molting season in late summer, has exterminated this
species at the northern edge of its range. The remaining breeding population
is receiving good protection and seems to be holding its own quite well.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bent, A.C. “Life histories of North American wild fowl,” U.S.Nat. Mus.
Bull . no.130, pp.293-301, 1925. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Kortright, F.H. The Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America . Wash., D.C.,
American Wildlife Inst., 1942, pp.77-80. </bibl> <bibl> 3. MacFarlane, Roderick. “Notes on and list of birds and eggs collected in
arctic America,” U.S.Nat.Mus. Proc . vol.14, p.425, 1891. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Whistling Swan

102. Whistling Swan . A large anseriform bird, Cygnus columbianus , which
is closely related to the Bewick’s swan ( C. bewickii ) of the Old World, and
may be conspecific with that form. It is wholly white when adult, with black
bill and dark gray feet, a diagnostic mark being the small yellow spot on the
bill directly in front of the eye. Adult males weigh from 12 pounds to 18 lbs.
10 oz. (Kortright). Young birds are pale ashy gray with dull reddish or flesh–
colored bill and flesh-colored to gray feet. Eskimo names for the bird are
Kugzhuk (Southampton Island) and Ko-ute Ko-ute (Alaska).
The whistling swan breeds from eastern Siberia (Anadyr drainage) and St.
Lawrence Island eastward along the arctic coat of the North American continent
from Alaska to Hudson Bay, Southampton Island, and Baffin Island, ranging north–
ward well beyond the Arctic Circle in Alaska and on certain islands of the Arctic
Archipelago (notably Victoria), and southward to the Alaska Peninsula and the
prairies north of tree-limit in the Northwest Territories. It winters along
the coast from southern Alaska to California and from Chesapeake Bay to C a u rri–
tuck Sound. In the east, it migrates through the interior, being virtually
unheard of along the Labrador coast.
On Southampton Island, in the spring of 1930, the whistling swan returned
from the south on May 25, pairs of the birds being seen from then on until the
middle of summer. A characteristic call note was a musical ga-loop , ga-loop .
I found a nest with three fresh eggs on a small island in a large lake at the
head of South Bay on June 3; and another, somewhat larger nest, in the middle
of the tundra and not near a body of water of any sort, on June 21. This nest
was 27 inches high, about 6 1/2 feet in di a meter at the base, and 3 feet across
at the rim. A considerable area about the nest was completely devoid of moss,

EA-Orn. Sutton: Whistling Swan

grass and lichens. These had been pulled up and added to the nest, perhaps
by the incubating female.
The eggs usually number 3 to 5, though as few as 2 and as many as 7
have been reported. The incubation period is believed to be 35-40 days.
The birds probably pair for life. The downy young are pure white, with
“bills and feet of pink flesh-color” (Bailey). The ability of the half–
grown young to run when pursued is remarkable, but young birds and molting
adults are frequently capture for food by the Eskimos.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> 1. Bailey, A.M. The Birds of Arctic Alaska . Denver, Col., Colorado Museum
of Natural History, 1948, pp.147-51. </bibl> <bibl> 2. Kortright, F.H. The Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America . Wash.,
D.C., American Wildlife Inst., 1942. </bibl> <bibl> 3. Sutton, G.M. “Birds of Southampton Island, Hudson Bay,” Carnegie Mus.
Mem . vol.12, pt. 2, sect. 2, pp.25-30, 1932. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: whooper Swan

103. Whooper Swan . A well-known swan, Cygnus cygnus , found chiefly in
the Old World, and so named because of its loud cries, which are said to re–
semble the word hoop repeated several times. It is frequently called the
whooping swan, the whooper, or the wild swan. It may be conspecific with
the trumpeter swan ( C. buccinator ) of North America.
When adult, its plumage is entirely white (sometimes stained with rusty
on the head, neck, and under parts); its feet black; its bill black at the
tip, yellow at the base (including the naked lores and eyelids). Young birds
are white on the back, rump, breast, and belly, but light grayish brown other–
wise. Their bills are dusky at the tip, flesh-colored at the base. The
Bewick’s swan ( Cygnus bewickii ), a similar but smaller species, also has a
black and yellow bill when adult, but the yellow does not extend forward
nearly to the nostrils, whereas in the whooper the yellow area extends to
below the nostrils or even farther.
The whooper swan breeds in Iceland, and in forested parts of northern
continental Eurasia — northward to latitude 70° N. in Scandinavia, and east–
ward as far as Kamchatka and the Komandorskis. It breeds sparingly in Novaya
Zemlya and has been reported from Jan Mayen. Portenko lists a Cygnus specimen
from Wrangel Island. It winters southward to central and southern Europe,
to central Asia (Persia and China), rarely to north Africa, and occasionally
to Japan. It formerly nested in small numbers in southern Greenland, but it
was so frequently captured for food, especially in late summer when it was
flightless, that it was extirpated there. According to Løppenthin, it is a
casual visitor to the Angmagssalik district on the east coast today. All
whooper swans now visiting Greenland are believed to travel across from Ice–
land. Iceland and Greenland birds belong to the same race, islandicus . The

EA-Orn. Sutton: Whooper Swan

birds of continental Eurasia and the Komandorski Islands are of the nominate
race.
The whooper is said to arrive from the south on its nesting ground as
early as late March, but this probably is not true at the northernmost edge
of its range. In Iceland it starts nesting in late May or early June. The
nest is a huge heap of vegetation on a small island in a lake or a dry hum–
mock in a marsh, and is well lined with down. The eggs, which are yellowish
white, number 3 to 5 (sometimes as many as 7). Incubation, which is accom–
plished wholly by the female, requires about 40 days. The newly hatched
young are grayish white above, slightly darker on the crown and nape, and
white below.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
References:
<bibl> Gordon, Audrey. “Nesting of Whooper Swan in Scotland,” British Birds , vol.15,
pp.170-71, 1922. </bibl>

EA-Orn. Sutton: Geese

GEESE
Order ANSERIFORMES ; Suborder ANSERES
Family ANATIDAE; Subfamily ANSERINAE
Tribe ANSERINI
104. Anser . See writeup.
105. Anserini. See writeup.
106. Barnacle Goose. See writeup.
107. Barren Grounds Goose. A name sometimes used for one of the small races
of Canada goose ( q.v. ).
108. Bean Goose. See writeup.
109. Black Brant. Branta nigricans , the darkest of the small black-headed
geese of the genus Branta. It is sometimes regarded as a race of
Branta bernicla . See B