Knots and Petrels

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Knots and Petrels
From: "Trevor Ford" <>
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 2009 22:38:21 +1000

With regard to the recent wader and seabird photos I have no problem with Jeff 
- "Great Knot", and Rohan and Jeff - "White-headed Petrel". But I would like to 
question their comments regarding the tail feathers (and the undertail feathers 
are those visible in the photo) of Soft-plumaged Petrel.

(Rohan has said "Soft-plumaged Petrel can be ruled out as the grey on the head 
and breast
band is usually much darker and they have dark grey tail feathers", whilst Jeff 
has said "For an absolute knock out feature then look at the tail which is 
white as pointed out by Rohan".)

In the Helm Guide, "Albatrosses, Petrels and Shearwaters of the World" by Onley 
and Scofield, it states within the identification section for Soft-plumaged 
Petrel: "Uniformly dark underwing, white undertail,....." This would relate to 
a pale phase bird, which the bird in the photograph would be were it a 

I don't believe that this is an error in this excellent, albeit occasionally 
eccentric book, as I don't recall anything other than whitish undertail 
feathers on pale phase birds. Perhaps Rohan and Jeff were considering the 

BTW Neither do I believe that Peter Ryan would have called the bird in question 
a White-bellied Storm Petrel!!

Cheers - Trevor.

Trevor Ford

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