One of the world's least-known seabirds, the Heinroth's shearwater is a small, dark-brown species restricted to the Bismarck Archipelago and the seas around Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Very little information is available on the shearwater and its life history, but its population is presumed minute and is rarely seen. The species is believed to be imperiled by introduced cats, rats, and dogs, as well as habitat fragmentation caused by deforestation.

In 1980, the International Council for Bird Preservation petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Heinroth's shearwater under the Endangered Species Act. Thirty years later — and after extensive Center legal involvement — the Service listed the species as threatened throughout its range, giving the seabird the federal safeguards it needs.