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A large, bulky, all-dark shearwater. The blackishbrown plumage is darkest on the head and primaries. The wing-coverts have brown margins that become paler with wear. The blackish tail may be either gently wedged or rounded. Individuals are readily distinguished from most other all-dark shearwaters by a large, dark-tipped, pale bill. The species may be confused with the Black Petrel, especially where their ranges overlap in the south-eastern Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea. The Black Petrel is larger and bulkier with a larger head, thicker neck and longer, broader wings. Whilst in flight the black feet of the Black Petrel trail slightly beyond the tip of their short wedge-shaped tail.