A small dark-brown shearwater with a white belly and a dusky patch under its wings along with dark markings on the inner wing visible during flight. A brown cap expands over the eye and runs down the back of the neck, blurring into the white chin and breast. Name is derived from distinctive low and fast “fluttering” flight with rapid bursts of wingbeats. Often seen feeding in flocks off the northern and eastern North Island and in the Cook Strait region. Easily confused with Hutton’s Shearwater where habitats overlap on the Cook Strait. Hutton’s is slightly larger with little white showing on the chin and more extensive gray armpit smudging. Little Shearwater also occurs in northern waters but is smaller, with white extending through or above the eye.