Ardenna carneipes 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Procellariiformes Procellariidae

Scientific Name: Ardenna carneipes (Gould, 1844)
Common Name(s):
English Flesh-footed Shearwater
French Puffin à pieds pâles
Spanish Pardela negruzca, Pardela paticlara
Ardenna carneipes ssp. carneipes — Christidis and Boles (2008)
Puffinus carneipes Gould, 1844
Taxonomic Source(s): Turbott, E.G. 1990. Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.
Taxonomic Notes: Ardenna carneipes (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Puffinus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2017
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Ekstrom, J. & Newton, P.
Despite the poor historical records and the current lack of data across all populations to assess the global population, there is now enough evidence to confirm that its population has been strongly affected by the fisheries operating in Australia and the population on Lord Howe and Sandy Island (Australia) and Lady Alice Island (New Zealand) is declining. Based on such an evidence, it seems reasonable to suspect that the population has declined by at least 20-30% over three generations and thus the species has been uplisted to Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species breeds on St Paul Island (French Southern Territories), Lord Howe Island (Australia), islands off south-west mainland Australia, south Australia (at two isolated colonies), and islands off North and South Islands (New Zealand). In the non-breeding season it ranges north through the western Pacific Ocean to the seas off Japan, Russia and Korea, with small numbers reaching North America, and north through the Indian Ocean and west to the southern tip of Africa (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Rayner et al. 2011, Reid et al. 2013, Bond and Lavers 2015). 

Countries occurrence:
Australia; British Indian Ocean Territory; Canada; Fiji; French Polynesia; French Southern Territories; India; Japan; Korea, Republic of; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Mexico; Micronesia, Federated States of ; New Zealand; Oman; South Africa; Sri Lanka; Tonga; United States; Yemen
Indonesia; Israel; Jordan; Madagascar; Seychelles; United Arab Emirates
Present - origin uncertain:
Chile; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kiribati; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Mauritius; Nauru; New Caledonia; Norfolk Island; Northern Mariana Islands; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Réunion; Russian Federation (Eastern Asian Russia - Native); Solomon Islands; Somalia; Tuvalu; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:188000000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Brooke (2004) estimated the global population to number > c.650,000 individuals, but this has recently been revised following the identification of a number of significant errors in the historical literature, as well as recent population surveys. Overall, the current global population is substantially smaller than previously thought, comprising only around 74,000 breeding pairs (Lavers 2015). In Australia, the Lord Howe island population was previously estimated at c.20,000-40,000 breeding pairs in 1978 (Fullagar and Disney 1981) and 17,462 breeding pairs in 2003 (Priddel et al. 2003). More recently, the population was estimated to be 16,267 pairs in 2009 (95% Credible Intervals 11,649–21,250), representing a decline in the number of pairs since 2003 of 6.8% (approx. 1.3% per annum; Reid et al. 2013). In New, Zealand, Robertson and Bell (1984) estimated the Flesh-footed Shearwater breeding population in at 50,000-100,000 pairs in 1983 while Taylor (2000) considered the population to be somewhat smaller at 25,000-50,000 pairs in 2000. Recent surveys suggest the population is closer to 10,000-15,000 pairs (Baker et al. 2010, Waugh et al. 2013). The Western Australian population was recently uplisted from Least Concern to Vulnerable (DPaW 2015). Following revision of the breeding population size, the species was recently up-listed to Near Threatened in Australia (Garnett et al. 2011) and to “Nationally Vulnerable” in New Zealand (Robertson et al. 2013).

Trend Justification:  Despite the poor historical records and the current lack of data across all populations to assess the global population, there is now enough evidence to confirm that its population has been strongly affected by the fisheries operating in Australia (Baker and Wise 2005; Tuck et al. 2003; Tuck and Wilcox 2008, Richard and Abraham 2014) and the population on Lord Howe and Sandy Island (Australia) and Lady Alice Island (New Zealand) is declining (Waugh et al. 2013, Reid et al. 2013, Barbraud et al. 2013).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Flesh-footed Shearwater mainly occurs in the subtropics over continental shelves and slopes, and occasionally in inshore waters. Individuals also pass through the tropics and over deeper waters when on migration to the North Pacific and Indian Oceans (Brooke 2004). Individuals have been recorded over waters of 12.9–22.9°C in the south-western Pacific Ocean (Reid 2002) and over waters of 11–16°C in the northern Pacific Ocean (Reid 2010, Reid et al. 2013b). Pairs breed on islands in burrows on sloping ground in coastal forest, scrubland, or grassland (Powell et al. 2007). Nests consist of enlarged chambers at the end of burrows (1-3 metres in length), with the entrance often covered by plant material (Waugh et al. 2014).
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):

FISHERIES BYCATCH: Two assessments of Flesh-footed Shearwater bycatch in the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery (ETBF) estimated 1,794-4,486 adult shearwaters were killed annually between 1998 and 2002 (Baker and Wise 2005), reaching a peak of 6800 birds in 1999/00 (Tuck and Wilcox 2008). Much of the effort since 1998 was directed toward the area between latitudes 25-35°S during the Austral summer when Flesh-footed Shearwaters are present in high numbers (Baker and Wise 2005). During the Austral summers of 2001/02 to 2002/03, fishery observers employed by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) monitored the performance of underwater setting chutes and line-weighting techniques, designed to minimize seabird bycatch, between latitudes of 28-37°S. A total of 461,311 hooks were observed, with 278 seabirds caught at an overall rate of 0.6 birds per 1000 hooks. The principle species caught was the Flesh-footed Shearwater, which comprised 91% of all birds taken (Baker and Wise 2005). While Flesh-footed Shearwater mortality in the ETBF has declined in recent years, this is thought to be largely due to the fishery shifting north in 2006/07 due to a change in the fish species targeted (Reid et al. 2013b).  Consequently, high mortality rates in the ETBF may occur again in future years if the fishery shifts back south.  Mortality from other fisheries adjacent to Lord Howe Island likely contribute to the ongoing decline of this population (Baker and Wise 2005, Tuck et al. 2003).  

Bycatch data are not available for most large, foreign fishing fleets in the North Pacific due to a lack of independent observers and enforcement (Ogi 2008). Shearwaters and petrels are rarely identified by observers in these fisheries, even when reported (K. Baird pers. comm.), however Flesh-footed Shearwater bycatch in Australian waters has been recorded on Japanese fishing vessels for many years (Tuck and Wilcox 2008).  From 1992 to 1996, estimates of seabird bycatch rates on Japanese long-line vessels fishing within the southern Australian EEZ varied between 0.1 and 0.3 birds per 1000 hooks, with Flesh-footed Shearwaters accounting for around 10% of the observed bycatch (Tuck et al. 2003). An additional 677 Flesh-footed Shearwaters are reportedly taken each year in the Japanese neon flying squid driftnet fishery (Ogi 2008) and 116 in the land-based salmon gillnet fishery (DeGange and Day 1991). Recent data for the tuna and swordfish pelagic longline fisheries managed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) ranked Flesh-footed Shearwaters bycatch-risk at 29 out of 70 seabird species assessed (Waugh et al. 2012). This ranking is erroneous as the authors used a highly inflated global population of 18 million individuals (likely confused with A. tenuirostris).  

In New Zealand, Flesh-footed shearwater are highly bycaught in commercial fisheries, ranked as the 3rd most at risk (based on estimated annual potential fatalities vs. potential biological removal) from commercial fisheries in 2013 (Richard and Abraham, 2013), out of 70 species assessed, and 5th in 2014 (Richard and Abraham, 2014). Those fisheries contributing the most risk are inshore trawl, scampi trawl and bottom longline. Recreational fisheries bycatch is also likely to be significant (Tennyson et al. 2012) 

Data on Flesh-footed Shearwater bycatch in the West and South Coast Purse Seine Managed Fisheries in Western Australia (six vessels operated in 2010) suggest up to six adult birds are killed per day per boat (DEF 2005) with more than 512 birds entangled in one season (Dunlop 2007). Most of this bycatch occurs in a six-week period and in the Albany area of the fishery. Bycatch of shearwaters has been reduced significantly since 2006/07 through the adoption of mitigation measures but still remains high, with a mortality rate of 0.35 birds per trip during the peak shearwater activity season. This represents a reduction over rates observed in 2006/07 (entanglements: 10.66 birds per trip, mortality: 1.12 birds per trip), but extrapolation to total fishing effort in the Albany area of the fishery indicates total mortalities could exceed 100 birds per season and potentially be much higher (Barry Baker and Luke Finley, unpublished data).  While bycatch mitigation measures have been successful in reducing mortality of some New Zealand seabird species, bycatch of Flesh-footed Shearwaters remains high, with captures thought to exceed the sustainable take of 514 birds/yr by nearly 200 birds for New Zealand fisheries alone (Waugh et al. 2016).

Entanglement of shearwaters in the lines of recreational and commercial fishers also occurs in Western Australia (Tennyson et al. 2012, Lavers 2015). There is also evidence of small amounts of Flesh-footed Shearwater bycatch in Russian salmon gill nets during the 1998-2008 non-breeding seasons (Arthukin et al. 2010)

INTRODUCED SPECIES: The habit of nesting and roosting in burrows on the ground exposes the Flesh-footed Shearwater to contact with terrestrial predators. For example, predation by European red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) was thought to be responsible for the disappearance of a breeding population on mainland Western Australia in the late 1930s (Warham 1958). The highly invasive Kikuyu Grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) was introduced to Lord Howe around 1900 and has spread across all disturbed areas, to the exclusion of most other plant species as well as the Flesh-footed Shearwater (Pickard 1984). Introduced Black rats (Rattus rattus) and Norway rats (R. norvegicus) are known to predate small numbers of Flesh-footed Shearwater eggs, and possibly chicks, on Lord Howe and in New Zealand (Taylo 2000, Pridell et al. 2006, Gaze 2000) and rabbits compete for burrows on Breaksea Island (Lavers 2015). There was evidence of rat predation on some of the eggs and rabbits were discovered in many of the burrows on Ile Saint-Paul (Segonzac 1990), but both species were eradicated in 1999 and 1995 respectively (Thiebot et al. 2010). 

HABITAT DESTRUCTION AND DISTURBANCE: Flesh-footed Shearwater breeding grounds on Lord Howe Island have contracted markedly since the island was settled by Europeans in 1834 (Recher and Clark 1974). A survey of the island in 1978 identified at least 5 ha of cleared land that formerly supported dense colonies of shearwaters (Fullagar and Disney 1981). The breeding grounds continued to contract by more than 35% from 37.8 ha in 1978 to 24.3 ha in 2002 (Priddel et al. 2006).  Colony area seems to have stabilized recently (24.7 ha in 2009), likely due to housing development restrictions on the Island, but burrow density within this area continues to decline (0.029-0.137 burrows m-2 in 2009; Reid et al. 2013a).

ROAD KILL: Several roads pass through or adjacent to Flesh-footed Shearwater breeding colonies on Lord Howe Island, and dead adults and fledglings are frequently found along the roadsides (DECC 2009, Hutton 2003).  As the number of cars and tourists are increasing on the Island each year, a quantitative assessment was undertaken to determine the impact of road mortality on the Flesh-footed Shearwater population.  The density of carcasses adjacent to roads was found to be 25 times greater than that generally found in the colony, leading to an estimated 125 birds killed during the 2008/2009 breeding season (Reid 2010, Reid et al. 2013a).  This is thought to significantly reduce adult survival rates.  

PLASTIC INGESTION: In Australia, the Flesh-footed Shearwater is the most at risk seabird species with 90% of tested fledglings on Lord Howe Island (n=38) and 100% of tested fledglings on King George Sound (n=6) containing considerable quantities of plastic (Lavers and Bond 2016).  Repeated years of low breeding success are thought to be due in part to high chick mortality due to the ingestion of plastic and associated co-pollutants (Lavers et al. 2014, Lewis 2016). Preliminary data from New Zealand indicates around 44% of adult birds contain plastic (Robertson et al. 2004) and 95% of unknown provenance adults (North Pacific bycatch during 1990-91) also contained plastic (Robards 1993). A study in a Flesh-footed shearwater colony on Ohinau Island off the northeast coast of New Zealand found a linear relationship between burrow density and non-research related plastic fragments, supporting evidence elsewhere that this species in particular ingests large amounts of plastic and may be at increased risk from impacts from this ingestion (Buxton et al. 2013). Adult birds have the ability to off-load ingested plastic to their chicks, so any accumulation in adults is thought to be indicative of a much bigger problem at the colony.

CONTAMINATION: An assessment of metal and metalloid contaminants in adult Flesh-footed Shearwaters from New Zealand, Lord Howe Island and Western Australia was undertaken in 2008 (Bond and Lavers 2011).  Feather samples from Western Australia had higher silver, aluminium, and copper concentrations, while shearwaters from Lord Howe Island had high concentrations of mercury (1122 ± 561 ppm). Arsenic and cadmium concentrations were also above known toxic thresholds, and may pose a conservation concern for this species. Fledglings with high levels of ingested plastic exhibit reduced body condition and significantly increased concentrations of some trace metals (Lavers et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway

Lord Howe Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. All 42 breeding islands in Western Australia are Class A Nature Reserves.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Work with fisheries to reduce bycatch of this species. Control invasive species that are having a high impact on this species.

Amended [top]

Amended reason: Altered threat coding table. Edited Threats Information text.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2017. Ardenna carneipes (amended version of 2017 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22698188A119423011. . Downloaded on 18 August 2018.
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