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Puffinus griseus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PROCELLARIIFORMES PROCELLARIIDAE

Scientific Name: Puffinus griseus
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name/s:
English Sooty Shearwater
French Puffin fuligineux
Synonym/s:
Ardenna grisea grisea Christidis and Boles (2008)

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor/s: BirdLife International
Reviewer/s: Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/s: McClellan, R., Benstead, P., Bird, J., Symes, A.
Justification:
This species is classified as Near Threatened because although it has a very large global population it is thought to have undergone a moderately rapid decline owing to the impact of fisheries, the harvesting of its young and possibly climate change.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Puffinus griseus is an abundant shearwater, breeding on islands off New Zealand, Australia and Chile, and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). In Australia there are colonies on 17 islands (all of less than 1,000 pairs), southern Chile (many colonies, some up to 200,000 pairs and up to 4 million birds on Isla Guafo; Reyes-Arriagada et al. 2007) and the Falklands (10,000-20,000 pairs) and more than 80 colonies in New Zealand (totalling c.5 million pairs) (Marchant and Higgins 1990). In 1970-71, the Snares Islands colonies were estimated to support 2,750,000 breeding pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1992; Heather and Robertson 1997). The total world population is thought to be over 20 million birds (Heather and Robertson 1997). Although this is an extremely numerous species, there are persistent signs of a current decline (Brooke 2004). In New Zealand, the number of burrows in the largest colony (on the Snares islands) declined by 37% between 1969-1971 and 1996-2000, and burrow occupancy may also have declined, indicating that an overall population decline may have occurred (Warham and Wilson 1982; Scofield 2002). Elsewhere the mainland New Zealand, colonies are in decline and certain offshore colonies have not responded to predator control (Gaze 2000; Jones 2000). In the California Current, Sooty Shearwater numbers have fallen by 90% in the last 20 years (Veit et al. 1996). It remains uncertain whether this has resulted from population declines or distributional shifts (Spear and Ainley 1999).

Countries:
Native:
Antarctica; Argentina; Australia; Bermuda; Brazil; Chile; Costa Rica; Denmark; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Fiji; France; Greenland; Guadeloupe; Ireland; Israel; Jordan; Marshall Islands; Mexico; New Zealand; Panama; Portugal; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Spain (Canary Is. - Vagrant); United Kingdom; United States
Vagrant:
Algeria; American Samoa (American Samoa); Barbados; Belgium; Cape Verde; China; Cuba; Egypt; Finland; French Polynesia; Gibraltar; Guatemala; Italy; Jamaica; Latvia; Lebanon; Liberia; Malta; Martinique; Mauritania; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Poland; Puerto Rico; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Lucia; Sao Tomé and Principe; Sri Lanka; Svalbard and Jan Mayen; Taiwan, Province of China; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; United Arab Emirates; Virgin Islands, U.S.
Present - origin uncertain:
Angola (Angola); Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Benin; Bouvet Island; Cameroon; Canada; Colombia; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Dominica; Ecuador (Galápagos); El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Faroe Islands; French Guiana; French Southern Territories; Gabon; Gambia; Germany; Ghana; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Heard Island and McDonald Islands; Iceland; Japan; Kiribati; Madagascar; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Morocco; Mozambique; Namibia; Nauru; Netherlands; New Caledonia; Norfolk Island; Peru; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Solomon Islands; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Suriname; Togo; Tonga; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Uruguay; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Wallis and Futuna; Western Sahara
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is roughly estimated to number > c.20,000,000 individuals (Brooke, 2004), while national population estimates include: c.100-10,000 breeding pairs, c.50-1,000 individuals on migration and c.50-1,000 wintering individuals in China; >c.1,000 individuals on migration in Japan and >c.1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It nests on islands and headlands in large colonies. Burrows are dug for breeding under tussock grass, low scrub and on the Snares Islands under Olearia forest. Birds typically do not return to their natal colonies until age four. It feeds on fish, crustacea and cephalopods, caught while diving. Short (1-3 days) and long (5-15 days) provisioning trips are made by parents; longer trips allow foraging along the Antarctic Polar Front, reducing competition close to breeding grounds and allowing vast colonies to persist.

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Harvesting young birds or 'muttonbirding' currently accounts for the take of around a quarter of a million birds annually (del Hoyo et al. 1992; Heather and Robertson 1997), but is unlikely to account for the scale of the decline. Populations are no longer ravaged by pelagic drift-nets which formerly drowned up to 350,000 birds annually (Ogi et al. 1993). Longline fisheries are responsible for large numbers of deaths of this and many other seabird species. Some authorities postulate that the decline may be associated with climate change, as investigation into the biolgoical impact of recent climatic trends suggests eithe large-scale shifts in the forgaing distribution of the species during the boreal summer, or dramatic reductions in abundance and survival rate (Ainley et al 1995; Veit et al. 1996, 1997; Spear and Ainley 1999; Wahl and Tweit 2000; Oedekoven et al. 2001; Hyrenbach and Veit 2003; Veit et al. 1996). Rats (Rattus rattus and R. Norvegicus) have been shown to predate on eggs and chicks, altohough the extent of the impact is unknown (Jones et al. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The species is monitored at some sites and has been extensively studied in parts of its range. Some breeding grounds are protected and have benefited from eradications of introduced predators.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring key colonies and migration bottlenecks. Research the key threats driving declines and assess appropriate responses. Buffer important colonies against invasive species invasions.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Puffinus griseus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 April 2014.
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