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Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Arriving at the breeding colonies in November and December, the pink-footed shearwater lays one white egg in a burrow between December and January. Both parents share the incubation duties, foraging in between shifts (2). After 48 – 56 days the egg hatches (3), and the chick will rapidly learn to fly, before leaving the breeding site in April or May (2). Feeding out to sea, the pink-footed shearwater dives, plunges and picks food from the surface. It takes sardines, anchovies, squid and occasionally crustaceans (2) (3).
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Description

Members of the shearwater genus cruise the oceans, gliding so low that they appear to shear the water surface. The wings are long and slender, usually used for gliding rather than flapping flight. The pink-footed shearwater is dully coloured, being mostly brown and white, but with pale pink feet and legs that give this species its name. The head and upperparts are brown, fading to white on the underside, with mottled sides and underwings. Both paler and darker individuals of the species have been seen (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Ardenna creatopus is an east Pacific seabird that breeds only on Robinson Crusoe (a few thousand pairs in 1986 [Brooke 1987]; 2,750 occupied burrows in 2002 [Brooke 2004]; 8,459 burrows in 2005-06, of which up to 60% [5,075] may be occupied [Hodum unpubl. data]) and Santa Clara (2,000-3,000 pairs in 1991 [Brooke 1987] and 3,470 breeding pairs in 2006 [Hodum unpubl. data]) in the Juan Fernández Islands, and on Isla Mocha (13,000-17,000 pairs [Guicking 1999], but possibly up to 25,000 pairs [D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999]) off the coast of Arauco, Chile. Recent evidence suggests another colony on Isla Guafo, south of Isla Mocha (Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005). These sites combined indicate around 20,000 breeding pairs, which would imply a maximum of 100,000 individuals (Brooke 2004). Following breeding, it disperses northward along the west coast of South America towards North America (CEC 2005). The migration is evident by its increasing presence along the continental shelf from the Gulf of California in Mexico to British Columbia in Canada, during April and May each year. Numbers peak between August and October, followed by a rapid decline in November, as birds return to their breeding colonies (CEC 2005). A specimen has also been taken from the Atlantic coast of Argentina (Mazar Barnett and Navas 1998) and there are records from New Zealand and Australia (Patterson 1991, D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). Despite probable declines in the past, populations in the Juan Fernández group appear to have been more or less stable over the past 15 years (CEC 2005). In contrast populations on Isla Mocha may be declining owing to the effects of chick harvesting (CEC 2005).

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occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations, but breeds in a single nation

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Non-breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Transient

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Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Breeding range is restricted to islands off Chile (Más á Tierra [Robinson Crusoe] and Santa Clara in the Juan Fernández group, and Isla Mocha in Arauco Bay) (AOU 1998). Away from nesting islands, the species ranges at sea off the Pacific coast of the Americas, north at least as far as south-coastal Alaska (AOU 1998).

Coded range extent refers to the terrestrial breeding range, which is less than 150 square kilometers, based on the sizes of the nesting islands..

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Range

Mocha and Juan Fernández islands off Chile; ranges to n Pacific.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Range

Spending much of its time over the east Pacific Ocean, the pink-footed shearwater breeds on just three islands; Robinson Crusoe and Santa Clara in the Juan Fernández Islands, and Isla Mocha off the central Chilean coast. It spends the winter season off the western coast of North America, and has also been seen off the coast of Argentina, and around Australia and New Zealand (2).
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 48 cm

Weight: 721 grams

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Type Information

Type for Puffinus creatopus "Cooper (Ms.)" (Ms.)" & Coues
Catalog Number: USNM 31964
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: unknown; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): J. Cooper
Year Collected: 1863
Locality: San Nicolas Island, Ventura, California, United States, North America
  • Type: (Ms.)" & Coues. (Not Earlier Than April 25) 1864. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. for 1864: 131.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Birds arrive at the colonies in late October-November. Eggs are laid in December with fledging and dispersal in late April-early May (Guicking 1999). On Robinson Crusoe, nesting has been recorded in burrows scattered throughout badly eroded, generally sparsely vegetated but occasionally forested habitat at elevations of 150-300 m. On Santa Clara, the species breeds in scattered colonies in eroded terrain at elevations from 15-300m (Hodum and Wainstein 2004). On Isla Mocha, the colony is in forest (predominant tree Aextoxicon punctatum), with the highest burrow densities along mountain ridges and between the roots of old-growth trees up to 390 m (Guicking 1999, D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). It feeds primarily in offshore waters over the continental shelf but also in pelagic waters (Hodum et al. 2004), mostly on fish (sardines and anchovies [Becker 2000]), squid and to a lesser extent, crustaceans (D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999) . Birds breeding on Santa Clara demonstrate a diet dominated by fish, with squid comprising a smaller proportion of the diet (CEC 2005).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Comments: This is a pelagic seabird that prefers cold waters of the open ocean (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Nests are on islands with soils suitable for burrowing; nesting areas are in forests (Isla Mocha) or in open grassy areas (Juan Fernández Archipelago).

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Depth range based on 5257 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2623 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 10.712 - 27.531
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.058 - 4.675
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 34.642
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.707 - 6.587
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.279 - 0.800
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 10.712 - 27.531

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.058 - 4.675

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 34.642

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.707 - 6.587

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.279 - 0.800

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 16.169
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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A pelagic species, the pink-footed shearwater comes to land to breed, preferring to burrow into soil amongst scattered vegetation on the Juan Fernández Islands, but nesting on mountain ridges in a forest habitat (2).
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Migrates off Central American coast mainly May-June and September-October. Occurs off Pacific coast of North America mainly spring-fall; the vast majority of the population is off the North American coast during the northern spring and summer. Observed October-December at sea near Hawaii (Pratt et al. 1987).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Fishes and small crustaceans. Eats more fishes than do most shearwaters (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5

Comments: Breeds at only three locations (AOU 1998, COSEWIC 2004, BirdLife International 2008).

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Global Abundance

10,000 - 100,000 individuals

Comments: The most recent data, based on burrow counts (e.g., Guicking 1999, Hodum and Wainstein 2003) suggest that the global adult population is approximately 20,000-30,000 pairs (COSEWIC 2004, BirdLife International 2008), with at least a couple thousand pairs on Más á Tierra, about 2,500 pairs on Santa Clara, and up to 25,000 pairs on Isla Mocha.

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General Ecology

Solitary or gregarious at sea (Stiles and Skutch 1989). May be seen in association with sooty shearwater.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Eggs are laid in December-January. Clutch size is 1. Young begin to fly 89-95 days after hatching (Terres 1980).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Puffinus creatopus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CCTATACCTAATTTTTGGCGCATGAGCCGGTATAGTCGGAACCGCCCTCAGCCTACTTATCCGCGCAGAACTTGGTCAACCAGGGACACTCCTGGGAGATGACCAAATCTACAATGTAATCGTTACCGCCCATGCTTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTAATACCCGTCATAATTGGAGGATTCGGAAACTGATTAGTTCCCCTCATAATCGGTGCACCCGACATAGCATTCCCACGTATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTACTACCCCCATCCTTCCTCCTCCTACTAGCCTCCTCTACAGTAGAAGCAGGAGCAGGCACAGGATGAACTGTGTATCCTCCTCTAGCTGGTAACCTTGCACATGCCGGAGCCTCAGTCGACCTGGCCATCTTCTCCCTCCACCTAGCAGGTGTATCTTCTATCCTAGGTGCAATCAACTTCATTACAACAGCTATCAACATAAAACCCCCAGCTCTATCACAATATCAAACCCCTCTGTTCGTATGATCCGTACTCATCACTGCCGTCCTACTCCTACTCTCACTTCCAGTCCTCGCAGCAGGAATCACTATACTATTAACAGACCGAAACCTAAACACTACATTCTTTGACCCAGCTGGCGGAGGAGATCCAGTCCTATATCAACACCTTTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Puffinus creatopus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D2

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Becker, D., Guicking, D., Hodum, P. & Torres-Mura, J.

Justification
This species has a very small breeding range at only three known locations, which renders it susceptible to stochastic events and human impacts. If invasive species, harvesting of chicks, bycatch in fisheries or other factors are found to be causing population declines, then the species would warrant uplisting to Endangered.

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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3N - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Breeds only on a few islands off Chile, where predation by introduced mammals is a concern, and illegal harvest by humans may be causing a decline in the largest occurrence; species ranges widely at sea in the Pacific Ocean, where it may be negatively affected by commerical fisheres; total breeding population is roughly 20,000-30,000 pairs, with recent trend probably relatively stable or slowly declining.

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Status

The pink-footed shearwater is classified as Vulnerable (VU D2) on the IUCN Red List 2004 (1) and is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (4).
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Population

Population
There may be around 20,000 breeding pairs, which would imply a maximum of 100,000 individuals.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable to decline of 30%

Comments: Although there is no direct evidence, populations on Isla Mocha (the largest subpopulation) are believed to be declining due to the effects of chick harvesting (Guicking 1999). Populations in the Juan Fernández group appear to have been more or less stable over the 15 years prior to the late 1990s (Guicking 1999).

Global Long Term Trend: Decline of 30-70%

Comments: The population on Más á Tierra (Robinson Crusoe) probably is much smaller than in the past, prior to introduction of coastis (Bourne et al. 1992, Guicking and Fiedler 2000), but the degree of decline is unknown.

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Threats

Major Threats
Predation by cats and coatis on Robinson Crusoe, and cats and dogs on Mocha (Guicking 1999) may be the most significant threat. Additionally, rats predate chicks and eggs on Robinson Crusoe and possibly on Mocha (J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999). Chicks are harvested by islanders on Mocha in March-May, with an estimated 20% of all chicks (3000-5000) taken in 1998 (Guicking 1999, Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005). European rabbits compete with shearwaters for burrows on Robinson Crusoe but were eradicated from Santa Clara in 2003 (Hodum unpubl. data). Soil erosion by goats and rabbits affects populations on Robinson Crusoe (Guicking 1999, J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999). Cattle in one colony on Robinson Crusoe cause soil erosion and burrow collapses (Hodum unpubl. data). Erosion due to vegetation loss causes burrow loss on Santa Clara (Hodum unpubl. data). Birds have been entangled in fishing gear near colonies and in the non-breeding range (Guicking 1999, D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999), and this potentially poses a major threat (Guicking et al. 2001, Commission for Environmental Cooperation 2005). The distribution of longline commercial fishing activities overlap both spatially and temporally with the wintering range of the pink-footed shearwater over the continental shelf of North America, making the risk of interaction with the fishing fleet highly likely (CEC 2005). Contamination by chemical pollutants (e.g. mercury) may also be a threat (Becker 2000), as well as plastic debris and oil pollution. The species is known to raft on the water in large groups in both the breeding and wintering range, which increases the risk of severe mortality from spills, either chronic or major events (CEC 2005). The species is potentially threatened by climate change because it has a geographically bounded distribution: its altitudinal distribution falls entirely within 1,000 m of the highest mountain top within its range (914 m) (Birdlife International unpublished data).

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Degree of Threat: Medium

Comments: Threats include mortality from introduced predators (coatis, rats, and feral cats on Isla Robinson Crusoe; rats on Isla Santa Clara; rats and probably feral cats on Isla Mocha) (Collar et al. 1992, Guicking 1999, IUCN 2000); illegal harvest of chicks for food on Isla Mocha (Guicking 1999); likely incidental mortality in commercial fisheries; habitat degradation by goats, rabbits, and cattle on Robinson Crusoe (IUCN 2000, BirdLife International 2008); and burrow destruction by chick harvesters on Isla Mocha (Guicking 1999). The species is also vulnerable to mortality from oil contamination (COSEWIC 2004). Predation by coatis may be the biggest threat on Isla Robinson Crusoe (Guicking and Fiedler 2000). Chick harvest may be causing a decline on Isla Mocha (Guicking 1999). The effect of introduced predators on population size and trend on Isla Mocha is unknown (Hodum and Wainstein 2002). The level of incidental mortality in commercial fisheries is unknown, but there is substantial overlap between fishing areas and shearwater locations (e.g., Guicking et al. 2001).

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The biggest threat to this species is poor breeding success following loss of eggs and chicks to rats, cats, coatis, and dogs, as well as to local people. Goats and rabbits are responsible for over-grazing that leads to soil erosion and the loss of suitable nesting burrows. Like many seabirds, this species is also threatened by the fishing industry, as it becomes entangled in fishing gear across its range. Pollution may also be a threat (2).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
The Juan Fernández Islands were designated as a national park in 1935 (protected from 1967) and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1977. The Chilean government began a habitat restoration programme in 1997 (J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999) and the islands have been nominated for World Heritage listing (Hulm 1995). The distribution on Robinson Crusoe and Santa Clara was determined in 2006. The colony on Mocha is within a national reserve, which has had a management plan since 1998 and two reserve guards (Guicking 1999, J. C. Torres-Mura in litt. 1999). Harvesting of chicks is illegal (Guicking 1999) although this is unenforced. The species is listed as a Species of Common Conservation Concern by the Commission for Environmental Conservation (CEC). In 2007, Chile and Canada created national conservation plans for the species. The Juan Fernández Islands Conservancy has worked on the Juan Fernández Archipelago since the 2001–02 breeding season. Satellite tracking is underway to determine foraging areas and geolocators have been deployed to track migration routes (CEC 2005). Community-based education and conservation programmes are also underway (CEC 2005).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Remove all introduced mammals, initially within a feasibility study area (D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). Determine breeding population estimate for Isla Mocha, taking into account burrow occupancy. Conduct quantitative assessment of population-level impacts of chick harvesting and reduce chick harvesting (Guicking 1999). Replant native flora, initially within the feasibility study area but also at forest edges, using exclosures on Robinson Crusoe (D. Guicking and P. H. Becker in litt. 1999). Enforce grazing restrictions on national park land. Plant fast-growing, soil-binding trees along highly eroded slopes for short-term relief. Assess the threat posed by the fishing industry, especially in Chilean waters (Guicking et al. 2001) and along migration routes, particularly in Peruvian waters. Establish and maintain a population monitoring programme for Juan Fernández and Mocha breeding populations. Clarify the severity of threats faced in the non-breeding range. Build capacity for research and at-sea monitoring in Mexico.

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Biological Research Needs: Better information is needed on the level of mortality in commercial fisheries and on the imapct of chick harvest.

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Global Protection: Few (1-3) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: All colonies are within national parks or reserves with management plans (BirdLife International 2008).

Needs: Control of introduced mammals and protection of nesting islands are the most important conservation needs.

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Conservation

In 1935 the Juan Fernández Islands were designated as a National Park, but were only protected from 1967. In 1977 they were upgraded to become a Biosphere Reserve, and they have now been nominated for inclusion in the list of World Heritage Sites. The breeding site on Isla Mocha is in a guarded national reserve which has had a management plan since 1998. The government of Chile has worked to improve the habitat of the shearwater since 1997. Collecting chicks is illegal, but enforcement is weak, and further efforts are necessary. The removal of introduced mammals has been proposed (2).
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Wikipedia

Pink-footed shearwater

The pink-footed shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) is a species of seabird. The bird is 48 cm in size, with a 109 cm wingspan. It is polymorphic, having both darker and lighter phase populations. Together with the equally light-billed flesh-footed shearwater, it forms the Hemipuffinus group, a superspecies which may or may not have an Atlantic relative in the great shearwater (Austin, 1996; Austin et al., 2004). These are large shearwaters which are among those that could be separated in the genus Ardenna (Penhallurick & Wink, 2004).

This species is pelagic, occurring in the Pacific Ocean. It predominantly nests on offshore islands off Chile, i.e. Mocha Island. It is a transequatorial migrant, moving toward subarctic waters of the Pacific after raising its young. It is fairly common well off the west coast of the United States during the country's warmer months.

The pink-footed shearwater feeds on mainly fish, squid and crustaceans.

This bird nests in burrows, preferring forested slopes. It is a colonial nester.

Numbers of this shearwater are have been reduced due to predation by introduced species, such as rats and cats. Some loss of birds also occurs from becoming entangled in fishing gear.

References[edit]

  • Austin, Jeremy J. (1996): Molecular Phylogenetics of Puffinus Shearwaters: Preliminary Evidence from Mitochondrial Cytochrome b Gene Sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 6(1): 77–88. doi:10.1006/mpev.1996.0060 (HTML abstract)
  • Austin, Jeremy J.; Bretagnolle, Vincent & Pasquet, Eric (2004): A global molecular phylogeny of the small Puffinus shearwaters and implications for systematics of the Little-Audubon's Shearwater complex. Auk 121(3): 847–864. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2004)121[0847:AGMPOT]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract
  • Carboneras, Carles (1992): 54. Pink-footed Shearwater. In: del Hoyo, Josep; Elliott, Andrew & Sargatal, Jordi (editors): Handbook of Birds of the World, Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks: 253, Plate 16. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-10-5
  • Harrison, Peter (1991): Seabirds: An Identification Guide. Houghton Mifflin.
  • National Geographic Society (2002): Field Guide to the Birds of North America. National Geographic, Washington DC. ISBN 0-7922-6877-6
  • Penhallurick, John & Wink, Michael (2004): Analysis of the taxonomy and nomenclature of the Procellariformes based on complete nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Emu 104(2): 125-147. doi:10.1071/MU01060 (HTML abstract)
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Puffinus creatopus (pink-footed shearwater) and P. carneipes (flesh-footed shearwater) constitute a superspecies (Sibley and Monroe 1990).

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