T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Shearwater (Flesh-footed) Ardenna carneipes

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Procellariidae
Genus: Ardenna
Species: A. carneipes
Binomial name: Ardenna carneipes
Synonym: Puffinus carneipes
Common names: Flesh-footed shearwater, toanui, tuanui, Pale-footed shearwater, Fleshfooted shearwater,

Ardenna carneipes (Flesh footed shearwater) is a medium to large shearwater with uniformly dark plumage. It has pale pinkish legs and feet, a pale pink-white bill (38-45 mm long) with a distinct black hooked tip. The bird has a length of 45 cm and a weight of 700 gm. It breeds in colonies on 15 islands around northern New Zealand and in Cook Strait, with the largest colonies on the Chickens and Mercury groups plus Ohinau and Karewa Islands. Elsewhere, there are colonies on Lord Howe Island, islands off Western Australia and on Ile St Paul in Indian Ocean. They dig breeding burrows up to 1-4 m in length under tall forest or low coastal shrub. After breeding, the birds migrate to the North Pacific Ocean where they spend the northern summer in the seas off eastern Japan. The return migration is through the central Pacific Ocean.
Flesh-footed shearwaters feed on small fish caught by diving into shoals. They can dive up to 30 m deep.

They are commonly seen in New Zealand sitting behind fishing boats and diving for the baits. This practice puts them into conflict with both recreational and commercial fishers where a large numbers are taken as a bycatch. The species also suffers from climate related impacts and significant heavy metal contamination, the cause of which is not fully understood but is likely due to the ingestion of significant quantities of plastic which the birds mistake for food floating on the ocean surface.

  

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