Population status

Pink-footed Shearwater
(Ardenna creatopus)

Pink-footed Shearwaters have been observed in Canadian waters as early as mid-February (K. Morgan, ECCC, pers. comm.), but the majority occur from May through October. While the species has been observed as far north as the Gulf of Alaska and the southern Bering Sea, the northern end of Vancouver Island or the southern tip of Haida Gwaii likely represents the species’ normal northern limit in Canada (Kenyon et al. 2009, COSEWIC 2016c). It has been estimated that perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 Pink-footed Shearwaters occur annually in Canadian waters each year; this represents a significant proportion of the global population (Environment Canada 2008a). The total breeding population is estimated to be between ~28,000 (COSEWIC 2016c) and ~30,000 pairs (BirdLife International 2018h); with a maximum global population of ~100,000 birds (Brooke 2004). The illegal harvesting of Pink-footed Shearwater chicks at some colonies, and the accompanying destruction of burrows (e.g., digging out and /or the collapse of burrows) is thought to have caused large decreases in the past. Although the magnitude of the chick-harvesting has declined from historical levels, recent evidence suggests that the harvest is increasing again (P. Hodum, Oikonos, pers.comm.). As well, recent evidence suggests that many hundreds of Pink-footed Shearwaters may be killed annually in Chilean and Peruvian net fisheries (Mangel et al. 2013). Due to a lack of historical information on the global population size, quantitative estimates of population trends are non-existent. It is generally accepted that the Pink-footed Shearwater has undergone significant but unmeasured decreases (Environment Canada 2008a, COSEWIC 2016c). However, Pink-footed Shearwaters have not been sufficiently monitored in Canada to reliably determine a change in the national population status relative to 1970. As such, a quantitative population goal for the species has not yet been determined, though the Recovery Plan states that increasing the seasonal populations that occupy Canadian waters is required to support international conservation measures (Environment Canada 2008a). The species is considered to be below acceptable levels until it is de-listed under the Species At Risk Act.


Population goal and acceptable levels of variation

Species/groupGoalLower levelUpper level
Pink-footed ShearwaterAbundance required for de-listing (SARA)Equal to goalNot applicable