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Flesh-footed Shearwater

Ardenna carneipes

Length: 17 inches Wingspan: 40 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Dark brown plumage overall, dark underwings as well, pinkish bill with dark tip, pinkish feet and legs

Flesh-footed Shearwater - Ardenna carneipesThe Flesh-footed Shearwater is a large shearwater species that breeds in the southwestern Pacific and the Indian Oceans.  In North America, they are occasionally seen off the West Coast, where they are most often found in conjunction with the smaller Sooty Shearwater. As with many marine species, the Flesh-footed Shearwater is attracted to human fishing activity, and they sometimes fall prey to longline fisheries when they grab baited hooks.  However, at the current time, populations appear to be stable.

Habitat: During the breeding season, they are found on islands with suitable soil for digging nest burrows.  Non-breeding birds disperse over the open ocean, but generally prefer relatively warm waters.

Diet: Feeds on fish and squid, occasionally other marine prey.

Behavior: Feeds by diving and swimming underwater in pursuit of prey, either by making short dives from flight, or by swimming on the ocean's surface and diving. They will also sometimes swim and directly pluck prey items that are close to the ocean's surface.

Nesting: The Flesh-footed Shearwater nests in burrows in the ground.  The female lays a single egg, and both parents help to incubate it.  Upon hatching, both parents help tend to the nestling until it fledges.

Song: Usually silent, but they will occasionally make a high-pitched barking call.

Migration: Breeds on islands in the southwest Pacific near New Zealand, the west coast of Australia, and select locations in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.  Non-breeding birds disperse, with birds in the Indian Ocean moving northward and westward, while Pacific Birds move up the western side of the Pacific, ranging as far north as the Aleutian Islands. They are relatively scarce visitors to the eastern side of the Pacific.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Flesh-footed Shearwater sightings

Similar Species: In range, most likely to be confused with the Sooty Shearwater or Short-tailed Shearwater.  Closely related to the Pink-footed Shearwater, but can be distinguished from that species by the all-dark plumage.

Conservation Status: Populations are widespread and stable.  The IUCN currently lists the Flesh-footed Shearwater as a species of "Least Concern".

Further Information: 1) New Zealand Birds Online - Flesh-footed Shearwater

2) BirdLife International - Flesh-footed Shearwater

3) - Flesh-footed Shearwater

Photo Information: Photo taken by Lee Gilbert - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Flesh-footed Shearwwater - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Flesh-footed Shearwater Photos (coming soon!!)