Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Critically Endangered

Rapa Shearwater (Puffinus myrtae)


French: Puffin de Rapa German: Rapasturmtaucher Spanish: Pardela de Rapa

Puffinus assimilis myrtae


, 1959,

Rapa Island, Tubaui Group


Originally treated as a race of P. assimilis and subsequently often as a subspecies of P. auricularis, under latter arrangement also with P. newelli. However, the most recent molecular study found that myrtae is genetically more distinct from P. newelli than P. newelli is from P. auricularis#R, while morphological analysis of the few available specimens of myrtae indicate that it can be differentiated by effect size (from published data#R) for wing length vs the smaller of the other two taxa (P. auricularis), –6.56 (score 3); white vs dark undertail-coverts (at least 2); whitish inner webs to the remiges (at least 1); and a ‘white face’ ([ns]). Monotypic.


presumably C Pacific Ocean; breeds on Rapa I, in Austral Is (SC Pacific).

Descriptive notes

c. 33–35 cm; mean 192 g (n = 10). Adult has blackish to greyish-brown upperparts, with the darker (noticeably blacker) crown extending to the upper edge of eye and... read more




Marine, occurring in warm subtropical offshore and pelagic waters. Breeds on small islets, in their... read more

Food and feeding

Nothing known.


Not well known, with almost no details published; incubation and fledging periods unknown, and egg undescribed. Nests colonially in burrows... read more


At-sea distribution, and migrations (if any), completely unknown, but see comments under Breeding.

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Restricted-range species: confined to the Rapa Secondary Area (however, this designation was based on the fact that, at the time, Rapa harboured just... read more

Recommended citation

Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Rapa Shearwater (Puffinus myrtae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).