Flesh-footed Shearwater (Puffinus carneipes)

Flesh-footed Shearwater

[order] PROCELLARIIFORMES | [family] Procellariidae | [latin] Puffinus carneipes | [authority] Gould, 1844 | [UK] Flesh-footed Shearwater | [FR] Puffin a pieds pales | [DE] Blassfuss-Sturmtaucher | [ES] Pardela Paticlara | [NL] Australische Grote Pijlstormvo


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Puffinus carneipes PO, IO widespread


Until recently the shearwaters were devided in two genera Calonectris and Puffinus, but based on dna-analysis Penhallurick and Wink (2004) have proposed a splitting of the shearwaters into three genera: Calonectris for the large shearwaters of the Northern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the waters around Japan, Ardenna for a group of large Southern Hemisphere breeders and Puffinus for the smaller shearwaters such as the Manx’ group, Audubon’s and Little Shearwaters. This new taxonomy is now widely accepted, but not by all and is stil subject of discussion.

Physical charateristics

Closely related to the Pink-footed Shearwater, the Flesh-footed Shearwater is solid, dark black-brown in color, with a pinkish beak and feet. The undersides of the wings may appear silver in flight.

Listen to the sound of Flesh-footed Shearwater

[audio:http://www.planetofbirds.com/MASTER/PROCELLARIIFORMES/Procellariidae/sounds/Flesh-footed Shearwater.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 99 cm wingspan max.: 107 cm
size min.: 40 cm size max.: 45 cm
incubation min.: 56 days incubation max.: 64 days
fledging min.: 88 days fledging max.: 96 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 1  


Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean : widespread. This species breeds on St Paul Island (French Southern Territories), Lord Howe Island (Australia), south-west mainland Australia, south Australia (at a single isolated colony), and North Island (New Zealand). In the non-breeding season it ranges north through the western Pacific Ocean to the Aleutian Islands (USA) with small numbers off North America, north through the Indian Ocean and west to the southern tip of Africa


In the non-breeding season, the Flesh-footed Shearwater inhabits the open ocean. It prefers to keep to warm waters, not commonly venturing as far north as many other shearwater species found off the coast of Washington. Pink-footed Shearwaters nest on islands with soil suitable for digging burrows for nests


Flesh-footed Shearwaters nest in colonies on islands off the coast of Australia and New Zealand. They are active on the colonies mostly at night. They nest in underground burrows that may be over four feet long. The female lays a single egg in December, and both parents incubate it for about 60 days. Both parents feed the chick which fledges after about 3 months. The chick leaves the island and heads to sea in April or May.

Feeding habits

The diet of the Pink-footed Shearwater consists of fish, squid, and crustaceans

Video Flesh-footed Shearwater


copyright: Brooke Clibbon


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Flesh-footed Shearwater status Least Concern


Ringing results show that birds from Lord Howe I move N to winter off E Korea Apr-Jul; New Zealand population assumed to follow same route, but all ringing recoveries from within 645 km of colonies; species occurs N to Sea of Okhotsk, and in small numbers off Arabian Sea, some birds occurring SW to South Africa; record of large numbers in Indonesia suggests at least some of W breeders may winter in Pacific.

Distribution map

Flesh-footed Shearwater distribution range map

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