Short-tailed Shearwater
(Ardenna tenuirostris)


Picture of bird
© David Cook Wildlife Photography - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Short-tailed Shearwaters nest only in Tasmania and off the coast of southern Australia (Austin et al. 1994). Their at-sea distribution ranges from Antarctica north to the Bering Sea, the Chukchi Sea and rarely into the western Beaufort Sea. Although Short-tailed Shearwaters have been observed as far south (along the west coast of North America) as Baja California, their post-breeding migration is primarily through the central Pacific (Howell 2012). Tens of millions of Short-tailed Shearwaters undertake a remarkable trans-equatorial migration from their breeding grounds around southern Australia through the North Pacific to spend the non-breeding season in the far north of the Bering and Chukchi Seas. Some migrating birds are also found in the western Beaufort Sea and south along the west coast of North America to California. Data are not sufficient to determine a change in population status in Canada relative to 1970. The recorded observations in Canada indicate that Canada’s responsibility for this species is likely very low.



Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
IUCN (Global)Least concern2018 
Wild Species (Canada)Unrankable2015 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada1,000 - 10,000 birds occurring seasonally

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Seasonal visitor

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

The greatest concern for the Short-tailed Shearwater is the potential impact of climate change on the ecosystem dynamics of their wintering areas. Anomalous weather patterns in 1997 resulted in the mortality of hundreds of thousands of Short-tailed Shearwaters in the North Pacific, and repeat events could potentially have significant impacts on the species (Baduini et al. 2001). This species is taken in various fisheries throughout its marine range (e.g., Ogi et al. 1993); however, the impact on the global population is unclear (Brooke 2004). Although the population trend appears to be decreasing (BirdLife International 2014), it is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN because of its large population size.


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type