Species Profile

Pink-footed Shearwater

Scientific Name: Ardenna creatopus
Other/Previous Names: Puffinus creatopus
Taxonomy Group: Birds
COSEWIC Range: British Columbia, Pacific Ocean
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2016
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B2ab(iii,v)
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: This long-lived seabird nests on only three islands off the coast of Chile, where it has suffered significant declines due to nest predation by introduced predators, exploitation by humans and habitat degradation. It also experiences mortality due to incidental take by fisheries across its range, including important foraging areas off the coast of British Columbia. Bycatch risk from fisheries has increased over the last three generations. This species is also sensitive to offshore oil spills.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Designated Threatened in May 2004. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in November 2016.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2005-07-14

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Taxonomy | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Biology | Threats | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Pink-footed Shearwater

Pink-footed Shearwater Photo 1
Pink-footed Shearwater Photo 2

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Taxonomy

There is some uncertainty surrounding the classification of this species. The Flesh-footed Shearwater (Puffinus carneipes) is very closely related, but its plumage is entirely dark.

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Description

The Pink-footed Shearwater is a stocky seabird about the size of a medium gull. In flight individuals appear heavy, with laboured wingbeats alternating with glides. It is distinguished from other North Pacific shearwaters by a combination of greyish-brown plumage above, variably mottled pale grey underparts with white wing linings, and a dusky head. The plumage of adult and juvenile birds is alike and there are no seasonal differences, although males are larger than females on average. Its pinkish-yellow, dusky-tipped bill and pink legs and feet are distinctive. The Pink-footed Shearwater is a globally threatened species that is known to breed at only three sites worldwide. (Updated: 2018/01/19)

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Distribution and Population

The Pink-footed Shearwater is known to breed on three islands off the coast of Chile: Mocha, Robinson Crusoe, and Santa Clara islands. At sea, the Pink-footed Shearwater primarily occupies waters of the continental slope, shelf-break, and shelf of the eastern Pacific. Its range extends from its breeding islands north along the coast of South and North America to the Gulf of Alaska and the southern Bering Sea, but only a few individuals occur north of Haida Gwaii. In Canada, the Pink-footed Shearwater occurs exclusively off the coast of British Columbia, with observations concentrated off the west coast of Vancouver Island, the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and in Queen Charlotte Sound. Numbers in Canada peak from June to October. The global population size of the Pink-footed Shearwater is estimated at 28,000 breeding pairs. At Mocha Island, the population is believed to have declined considerably over the 20th century due to illegal chick harvesting and introduced predators. A study at Mocha Island in the late 1990s estimated a substantial decline in the number of breeding pairs (~40%) from an estimate in the late 1980s, although methods differed between surveys. There is plausible evidence of decline on Robinson Crusoe Island within the past 55 years (3 generations) due to predation of adults and chicks by Coatimundis and feral cats. However, the Robinson Crusoe population is thought to have been stable over the past 15 years, and monitoring at Mocha Island since 2010 suggests a stable population over that time. Trends within the Canadian range of the species are unknown. (Updated: 2018/01/19)

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Habitat

Pink-footed Shearwaters nest in burrows that they excavate in the soil of their breeding colonies. On Mocha Island, burrows are located in dense native forest along the seaward sides of upper slopes and ridgetops, while on Robinson Crusoe and Santa Clara islands, nests are located in remnant native forests or open terrain with grassy vegetation or bare soils. In the marine environment, Pink-footed Shearwaters display a preference for biologically productive waters associated with the continental slope, shelf and shelf-break. (Updated: 2018/01/19)

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Biology

Pink-footed Shearwaters breed during the austral spring and summer, with birds returning to their colonies from early to mid-October. They lay a single egg per year, with egg-laying occurring from late November to mid-December. Eggs hatch from late January to mid-February after a prolonged incubation period, and fledging primarily occurs in May. Both parents share in incubation. After chicks fledge, post-breeders migrate north to their wintering grounds off Peru and the Pacific coast of the US and Canada. (Updated: 2018/01/19)

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Threats

Threats facing this species at its colonies include human exploitation and disturbance, predation, disturbance and competition from introduced mammals; and habitat loss and destruction, particularly via erosion compounded by vegetation loss. At sea, the species is threatened by interactions with fisheries, oil and other pollution, plastic ingestion, and likely by competition with humans for prey fish. (Updated: 2018/01/19)

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Pink-footed Shearwater is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for the Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) and Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Pink-footed Shearwater and Short-tailed Albatross Recovery Team

  • Ken Morgan - Chair/Contact - Environment Canada
    Phone: 250-363-6537  Send Email

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Recovery Progress and Activities

Summary of Progress to DateA draft Recovery Strategy has been developed and a Recovery Team is being formed. Summary of Research/Monitoring ActivitiesThe Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) routinely conducts at sea Ship-of-Opportunity surveys (aboard Coast Guard vessels) to monitor abundance, distribution, and seasonality of pelagic seabirds off the west coast of Canada. These surveys have been, and continue to be, the only means of monitoring the Pink-footed Shearwater. The Ship-of-Opportunity data, spanning more than 18 years, are being analyzed and will be used to produce an atlas of the seasonal distribution of all pelagic seabirds off Canada’s west coast, including the Pink-footed Shearwater. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, (U.S. Department of Commerce) have co-sponsored a collaborative study of Pink-footed Shearwaters movements and habitat use at sea. Solar-powered satellite tracking devices were attached to birds captured in their nesting burrows in Chile. The birds are now being tracked as they move northward. Further plans include capturing additional birds at sea in California and perhaps off S.W. British Columbia and attaching satellite tags. This project involves staff from the Canadian Wildlife Service, the University of Washington, Duke University, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Summary of Recovery ActivitiesA database of all CWS-sponsored ship-of-opportunity sightings of Pink-footed Shearwaters in Canadian and adjacent waters has been created and a draft map has been produced. URLs Link to the satellite tracking project: http://www.seaturtle.org/tracking/?project_id=132 Government of Canada Species at Risk Public Registry:http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/status/showDocument_e.cfm?id=490 COSEWIC webpage:http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/eng/sct1/searchdetail_e.cfm?id=819&StartRow=1&boxStatus=All&boxTaxonomic=All&location=All&change=All&board=All&commonName=Pink-footed%20Shearwater&scienceName=&returnFlag=0&Page=1

Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

13 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus in Canada (2017-10-24)

    The Pink-footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus Coues, 1864 is a stocky and rather broad-winged seabird. In flight individuals appear heavy, with laboured wingbeats. The plumage is a combination of grayish-brown upperparts, white underparts with smudgy markings, mottled underwings, and a dusky head. The iris is brown, the bill pinkish-yellow with a dusky tip, and the legs and feet are pink. Juveniles and adults are alike in plumage, as are the sexes, with no seasonal variation. There is some uncertainty surrounding the classification of the species. The Flesh-footed Shearwater (Puffinus carneipes) is very closely related but has an entirely dark plumage.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Pink-footed Shearwater (2004-10-22)

    This seabird breeds on only three islands off the coast of Chile, where it has suffered significant but unmeasured declines due to nest predation by introduced predators, exploitation by humans and habitat degradation. It likely incurs mortality due to incidental take by fisheries off the coast of British Columbia during the non-breeding season and would be sensitive to any offshore oil spills there.
  • Response Statement - Pink-footed Shearwater (2018-01-18)

    This long-lived seabird nests on only three islands off the coast of Chile, where it has suffered significant declines due to nest predation by introduced predators, exploitation by humans and habitat degradation. It also experiences mortality due to incidental take by fisheries across its range, including important foraging areas off the coast of British Columbia. Bycatch risk from fisheries has increased over the last three generations. This species is also sensitive to offshore oil spills.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for the Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) and Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) in Canada (2008-05-02)

    The Short-tailed Albatross and the Pink-footed Shearwater are migratory birds listed under the Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994) and are under the management jurisdiction of the federal Ministry of the Environment. SARA (Section 37) requires the competent minister to prepare recovery strategies for listed extirpated, endangered, or threatened species. Both species were listed as threatened under SARA in 2005. Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service - Pacific and Yukon Region led the development of this recovery strategy through the Short-Tailed Albatross and Pink-Footed Shearwater Recovery Team. The recovery strategy was developed in cooperation or consultation with: Fisheries and Oceans Canada Parks Canada Agency Government of British Columbia International conservation efforts are critical to the recovery of these species. This recovery strategy outlines recommended approaches within Canada. A number of other conservation plans exist to address these species internationally, including: the Pink-footed Shearwater North American Conservation Action Plan (Commission for Environmental Cooperation [CEC] 2005), developed cooperatively by Canada, the U.S. and Mexico; and the Draft Recovery Plan for Short-tailed Albatross, prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This recovery strategy is consistent with and supports these international efforts. Due to technical difficulties, the comment period for this proposed Recovery Strategy was extended until March 25, 2008.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site (2016-07-04)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site meets the requirements for an action plan set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA (s.47)) for species requiring an action plan that occur inside the boundary of the site. This action plan will be updated to more comprehensively include measures to conserve and recover the marine species at risk once the first integrated Land, Sea, People management plan for Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve & Haida Heritage Site (hereafter called Gwaii Haanas) is complete. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in Gwaii Haanas.

Orders

  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2004-10-19)

    The Order acknowledges receipt by the Governor in Council of the assessments of the status of wildlife species done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA) by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). The purpose of SARA is to prevent wildlife species from being extirpated or becoming extinct, to provide for the recovery of wildlife species that are extirpated, endangered or threatened as a result of human activity and to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (Volume 153, Number 11, 2019) (2019-05-29)

    Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances). Given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem resulting in the loss of individuals and species can therefore result in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.
  • Order Amending Schedules 1 to 3 to the Species at Risk Act (volume 139, number 15, 2005) (2005-07-27)

    The Minister of the Environment is recommending, pursuant to section 27 of the Species at Risk Act (SARA), that 43 species be added to Schedule 1, the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. This recommendation is based on scientific assessments by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) and on consultations with governments, Aboriginal peoples, wildlife management boards, stakeholders and the Canadian public.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2004 (2004-09-16)

    2004 Annual Report to the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Annual Report 2016 to 2017 (2017-10-24)

    Over the past year COSEWIC re-examined the status of 40 wildlife species; of these, the majority (78 %) were reassessed at the same or lower level of risk. Of a total of 73 species assessed 11 were assigned the status of Not at Risk (8 re-assessments and 3 new assessments). To date and with the submission of this report, COSEWIC’s assessments now include 735 wildlife species in various risk categories including 321 Endangered, 172 Threatened, 219 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated (i.e. - no longer found in the wild in Canada). In addition 16 species have been assessed as Extinct, 58 have been designated as Data Deficient and 186 were assessed and assigned Not at Risk status.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#294), persuant to the provisions of section 74 of SARA (2010-08-31)

    The purpose of this project is to capture and monitor the annual movements, identify foraging hotspots and/or travel corridors, potential Critical Habitat, used by Pink-footed Shearwaters (or Black-footed Albatross) in Canadian waters by attaching satellite tags to seven Pink-footed Shearwaters (or Black-footed Albatross or a mixture of both species). Shearwaters and/or Albatross will be captured at-sea using day capture (chumming) or night capture (spotlight) techniques and brought on board a boat using a long-handled net. Shearwaters and/or Albatross will be gently restrained, wrapped in a towel or placed in a breathable pillow case and if necessary cooled with ice packs on hot days to prevent overheating. All birds caught, whether adult or juvenile, will be weighed, measured, and banded with an aluminum leg band. In addition, a small feather and blood samples will be collected from each bird by cutting <2 cm centimeter of secondary and primary flight feathers for stable isotope analyses. Birds will be released within 30 minutes of capture and monitored from a safe distance.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: November 2004 (2004-11-23)

    The Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003 as part of its strategy for the protection of wildlife species at risk. Attached to the act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, hereinafter referred to as the 'SARA list'. Canadians are invited to comment on whether all or some of the species included in this document should be added to the SARA list.
  • Consultation on Amending the List of Species under the Species at Risk Act: Terrestrial Species January 2018 (2018-01-26)

    The Government of Canada is committed to preventing the disappearance of wildlife species at risk from our lands. As part of its strategy for realizing that commitment, on June 5, 2003, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species provided for under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. Extirpated, Endangered and Threatened species on Schedule 1 benefit from the protection afforded by the prohibitions and from recovery planning requirements under SARA. Special Concern species benefit from its management planning requirements. Schedule 1 has grown from the original 233 to 555 wildlife species at risk. In 2017, final listing decisions were made for 44 terrestrial species and 15 aquatic species. Of these 59 species, 35 were new additions, sixteen were reclassifications, three had a change made to how they are defined, two were removed from Schedule 1, one was referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation and two were the object of ‘do not list’ decisions. In 2017, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, the Governor in Council approved listing proposals for 45 wildlife species. It is proposed that 21 species be added to Schedule 1, 11 be reclassified, 12 would have a change made to how they are defined, and one would be referred back to COSEWIC for further evaluation. The listing proposals were published in Canada Gazette, part I for a 30-day public comment period and final listing decisions for all 45 species are expected by August of 2018. Please submit your comments by May 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing normal consultations and by October 22, 2018, for terrestrial species undergoing extended consultations. For a description of the consultation paths these species will undergo, please visit the Species at Risk Public Registry (SAR) website.
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