Ardenna creatopus 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Procellariiformes Procellariidae

Scientific Name: Ardenna creatopus
Species Authority: (Coues, 1864)
Common Name(s):
English Pink-footed Shearwater
Ardenna creatopus creatopus Christidis and Boles (2008)
Puffinus creatopus Coues, 1864
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Taxonomic Notes: Ardenna creatopus (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Puffinus.
Identification information: 48 cm. Large, dull shearwater. Dull greyish-brown head and upperparts. Thinly barred sides of head and neck becoming mottled towards sides of breast. Brownish mottling continues down flanks to merge into bolder brownish lower belly, undertail-coverts and thighs with slight pale mottling. Rest of underparts dull white. Dark mottling on underwing, especially in axillaries, over pale background. Pale pink feet. Yellowish bill with dark tip. Plumage varies between paler and darker morphs. Similar spp. Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus is smaller and more slender with narrower wings, longer tail and thin dark bill.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Becker, D., Guicking, D., Hodum, P. & Torres-Mura, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Anderson, O., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Clay, R., Frere, E. & Lascelles, B.
This species has a very small breeding range at only three known locations, which renders it susceptible to stochastic events and human impacts. If invasive species, harvesting of chicks, bycatch in fisheries or other factors are found to be causing population declines, then the species would warrant uplisting to Endangered.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2010 Vulnerable (VU)
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2007 Vulnerable (VU)
2006 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Vulnerable (VU)
1994 Vulnerable (VU)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Ardenna creatopus is an east Pacific seabird that breeds only on Robinson Crusoe (a few thousand pairs in 1986 [Brooke 1987]; 2,750 occupied burrows in 2002 [Brooke 2004]; 8,459 burrows in 2005-06, of which up to 60% [5,075] may be occupied [Hodum unpubl. data]) and Santa Clara (2,000-3,000 pairs in 1991 [Brooke 1987] and 3,470 breeding pairs in 2006 [Hodum unpubl. data]) in the Juan Fernández Islands, and on Isla Mocha (13,000-17,000 pairs [Guicking 1999], but possibly up to 25,000 pairs [D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999]) off the coast of Arauco, Chile. Recent evidence suggests another colony on Isla Guafo, south of Isla Mocha (Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005). These sites combined indicate around 20,000 breeding pairs, which would imply a maximum of 100,000 individuals (Brooke 2004). Following breeding, it disperses northward along the west coast of South America towards North America (CEC 2005). The migration is evident by its increasing presence along the continental shelf from the Gulf of California in Mexico to British Columbia in Canada, during April and May each year. Numbers peak between August and October, followed by a rapid decline in November, as birds return to their breeding colonies (CEC 2005). A specimen has also been taken from the Atlantic coast of Argentina (Mazar Barnett and Navas 1998) and there are records from New Zealand and Australia (Patterson 1991, D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). Despite probable declines in the past, populations in the Juan Fernández group appear to have been more or less stable over the past 15 years (CEC 2005). In contrast populations on Isla Mocha may be declining owing to the effects of chick harvesting (CEC 2005).

Countries occurrence:
Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; El Salvador; Mexico; Nicaragua; Peru; United States
Argentina; Australia; Guatemala; New Zealand
Present - origin uncertain:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 150
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 23700000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 3
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 150
Upper elevation limit (metres): 390
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There may be around 20,000 breeding pairs, which would imply a maximum of 100,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  Trends are not known. Further research is needed to determine if introduced predators on Robinson Crusoe Island and rats and harvesting of chicks on Isla Mocha are having any impact (Brooke 2004).

Current Population Trend: Unknown
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 3 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Birds arrive at the colonies in late October-November. Eggs are laid in December with fledging and dispersal in late April-early May (Guicking 1999). On Robinson Crusoe, nesting has been recorded in burrows scattered throughout badly eroded, generally sparsely vegetated but occasionally forested habitat at elevations of 150-300 m. On Santa Clara, the species breeds in scattered colonies in eroded terrain at elevations from 15-300m (Hodum and Wainstein 2004). On Isla Mocha, the colony is in forest (predominant tree Aextoxicon punctatum), with the highest burrow densities along mountain ridges and between the roots of old-growth trees up to 390 m (Guicking 1999, D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). It feeds primarily in offshore waters over the continental shelf but also in pelagic waters (Hodum et al. 2004), mostly on fish (sardines and anchovies [Becker 2000]), squid and to a lesser extent, crustaceans (D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999) . Birds breeding on Santa Clara demonstrate a diet dominated by fish, with squid comprising a smaller proportion of the diet (CEC 2005).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 18.3
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Predation by cats and coatis on Robinson Crusoe, and cats and dogs on Mocha (Guicking 1999) may be the most significant threat. Additionally, rats predate chicks and eggs on Robinson Crusoe and possibly on Mocha (J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999). Chicks are harvested by islanders on Mocha in March-May, with an estimated 20% of all chicks (3000-5000) taken in 1998 (Guicking 1999, Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005). European rabbits compete with shearwaters for burrows on Robinson Crusoe but were eradicated from Santa Clara in 2003 (Hodum unpubl. data). Soil erosion by goats and rabbits affects populations on Robinson Crusoe (Guicking 1999, J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999). Cattle in one colony on Robinson Crusoe cause soil erosion and burrow collapses (Hodum unpubl. data). Erosion due to vegetation loss causes burrow loss on Santa Clara (Hodum unpubl. data). Birds have been entangled in fishing gear near colonies and in the non-breeding range (Guicking 1999, D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999), and this potentially poses a major threat (Guicking et al. 2001, Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005). The distribution of longline commercial fishing activities overlap both spatially and temporally with the wintering range of the pink-footed shearwater over the continental shelf of North America, making the risk of interaction with the fishing fleet highly likely (CEC 2005). Contamination by chemical pollutants (e.g. mercury) may also be a threat (Becker 2000), as well as plastic debris and oil pollution. The species is known to raft on the water in large groups in both the breeding and wintering range, which increases the risk of severe mortality from spills, either chronic or major events (CEC 2005). The species is potentially threatened by climate change because it has a geographically bounded distribution: its altitudinal distribution falls entirely within 1,000 m of the highest mountain top within its range (914 m) (Birdlife International unpublished data).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The Juan Fernández Islands were designated as a national park in 1935 (protected from 1967) and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977. The Chilean government began a habitat restoration programme in 1997 (J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999) and the islands have been nominated for World Heritage listing (Hulm 1995). The distribution on Robinson Crusoe and Santa Clara was determined in 2006. The colony on Mocha is within a national reserve, which has had a management plan since 1998 and two reserve guards (Guicking 1999, J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999). Harvesting of chicks is illegal (Guicking 1999) although this is unenforced. The species is listed as a Species of Common Conservation Concern by the Commission for Environmental Conservation (CEC). In 2007, Chile and Canada created national conservation plans for the species. The Juan Fernández Islands Conservancy has worked on the Juan Fernández Archipelago since the 2001–02 breeding season. Satellite tracking is underway to determine foraging areas and geolocators have been deployed to track migration routes (CEC 2005). Community-based education and conservation programmes are also underway (CEC 2005).  

Conservation Actions Proposed
Remove all introduced mammals, initially within a feasibility study area (D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). Determine breeding population estimate for Isla Mocha, taking into account burrow occupancy. Conduct quantitative assessment of population-level impacts of chick harvesting and reduce chick harvesting (Guicking 1999). Replant native flora, initially within the feasibility study area but also at forest edges, using exclosures on Robinson Crusoe (D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). Enforce grazing restrictions on national park land. Plant fast-growing, soil-binding trees along highly eroded slopes for short-term relief. Assess the threat posed by the fishing industry, especially in Chilean waters (Guicking et al. 2001) and along migration routes, particularly in Peruvian waters. Establish and maintain a population monitoring programme for Juan Fernández and Mocha breeding populations. Clarify the severity of threats faced in the non-breeding range. Build capacity for research and at-sea monitoring in Mexico.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Ardenna creatopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22698195A40207200. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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