Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Surviving in New Zealand: should the Flesh-footed Shearwater have a threatened status?

Christophe Barbraud (Centre d'Etudes Biologiques de Chizé, Villiers-en-Bois, France) and colleagues have published in the open-access journal Marine Ornithology on survivorship in Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carneipes in New Zealand.  The species, identified as a potential candidate for ACAP listing (click here), is currently categorized globally as of Least Concern.  However, the authors argue that its conservation status should be reassessed “urgently”.

The paper’s abstract follows:

The Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes is a widespread sub-tropical species, breeding on Southern Hemisphere islands managed by New Zealand, Australia and France.  Recent concern over the population’s stability and frequently noted bycatch in longline fisheries has prompted a review of its conservation status.   Studies of nesting shearwaters at two sites presented here provide detail of survivorship rates for two populations, studied over 13 and 23 years, respectively, in northern New Zealand sites.  Adult survival (0.93–0.94) is moderate to high compared with survival of congeners.  Population growth rates estimated from marked individuals indicate stability for one site and decline at the other site.  Average age of first return of banded chicks was 6.2 years of age in one study and 6.4 years in the other. Current threats affecting survivorship for the New Zealand populations of this species are reviewed.”

Flesh-footed Shearwater, photograph by Tim Reid

Click here to access a recently published paper on the conservation status of the Flesh-footed Shearwater in Australia.

Reference:

Barbraud, C., Booth, A., Taylor, G.A. & Waugh, S.M. 2014.  Survivorship in Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes at two sites in northern New Zealand.  Marine Ornithology 42: 91-97.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 12 October 2014

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