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Overview

Distribution

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: Transient

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Transient

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Global Range: Breeds on islands off coast (and locally along mainland coast) of southern Australia, with largest numbers around Tasmania and islands of the Bass Strait (see map in Austin et al. 1994). Ranges at sea in southern Australian and New Zealand waters, and north through Pacific Ocean to Bering and Chukchi seas (some to Beaufort Sea), south along west coast of North America to Baja California (Los Coronados Islands).

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Range Description

This species breeds on Tasmania and off the coast of south Australia, with the bulk of the population in the south-east. It undergoes transequatorial migration, wintering north of Japan near the Aleutian Islands (USA), with some moving north of the Bering Strait. The return migration route incorporates the central Pacific, with some moving down the western coast of North America.
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Range

S Australia and Tasmania; winters to n Pacific.

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Physical Description

Size

Length: 36 cm

Weight: 543 grams

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Ecology

Habitat

breeding on Australia and New Zealand
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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Comments: Nonbreeding: pelagic. Nests in burrows usually on small islands, also on mainland headlands in some areas. Strongly philopatric (Austin et al. 1994).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Breeding occurs mainly on coastal islands, typically in areas of grassland or other vegetation, but sometimes cliffs or bare ground (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It conducts a bimodal feeding strategy whilst breeding, alternating short foraging trips to local waters with long foraging trips (up to 17 days) to the Polar Frontal Zone. Short trips allow greater chick provisioning at the sacrifice of body condition, which is then recovered in richer sub-Antarctic waters. Diet includes fish (particularly mycotphids), crustaceans and squid (Weimerskirch and Cherel 1998). Feeding occurs in flocks of up to 20,000 birds, and it has been seen associated with cetaceans. It is a trans-equatorial migrant, wintering off Aleutian Islands, some moving north of Bering Strait (del Hoyo et al. 1992).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Depth range based on 169 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 74 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 1.821 - 28.903
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.037 - 26.250
  Salinity (PPS): 32.403 - 34.924
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.556 - 7.657
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.263 - 1.751
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 19.677

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 1.821 - 28.903

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.037 - 26.250

Salinity (PPS): 32.403 - 34.924

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.556 - 7.657

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.263 - 1.751

Silicate (umol/l): 1.436 - 19.677
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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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.

Seen along British Columbia, U.S. west coast, and in central Pacific during southward migration in late northern summer through winter (National Geographic Society 1983, Cogswell 1977, Pratt et al. 1987). Some nonbreeders remain off California during northern winter (National Geographic Society 1983).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats fishes taken from surface or by diving (Terres 1980).

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Population Biology

Global Abundance

>1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Total population is about 23 million breeding birds (Skira et al. 1985).

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General Ecology

Nonbreeding: may form flocks of at least 10,000s.

Despite strong philopatry, colony founding and recovery from population reductions evidently occur via immigration of a large number of individuals (Austin et al. 1994).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Breeding Category

Visitor
  • Woehler E.J. (compiler) 2006. Species list prepared for SCAR/IUCN/BirdLife International Workshop on Antarctic Regional Seabird Populations, March 2005, Cambridge, UK.
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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 30 years (wild)
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Reproduction

Egg laying occurs in November. Clutch size is 1. Incubation lasts 52-55 days. Tends to retain same mate in successive years. See Wooler et al. (1990). Some islands have colonies of several hundred thousand pairs (Austin et al. 1994).

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Puffinus tenuirostris

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


There are 6 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.

CCTATACCTAATTTTCGGCGCATGAGCCGGTATAGTCGGAACCGCCCTCAGCCTACTTATCCGCGCAGAACTTGGTCAACCAGGGACACTCCTGGGAGATGACCAAATCTACAATGTAATTGTTACCGCCCATGCTTTCGTAATAATCTTCTTCATAGTAATACCCGTCATAATTGGAGGATTCGGAAACTGATTAGTTCCCCTCATAATCGGTGCACCCGACATAGCATTCCCACGTATAAATAACATAAGCTTCTGACTATTACCCCCATCCTTCCTCCTCCTACTAGCCTCCTCTACAGTAGAAGCAGGAGCAGGCACAGGATGGACTGTGTACCCTCCTCTAGCTGGTAACCTTGCTCATGCCGGAGCCTCAGTCGATCTGGCTATCTTCTCCCTCCACCTAGCAGGTGTATCTTCTATCCTAGGGGCAATCAACTTCATTACAACCGCTATCAACATAAAACCCCCGGCTCTATCACAATATCAAACCCCTCTGTTCGTATGATCCGTACTCATTACTGCCGTCCTACTCCTACTCTCTCTTCCAGTCCTCGCAGCGGGAATCACTATACTATTAACAGATCGAAACCTAAATACTACATTCTTTGACCCAGCTGGTGGAGGAGATCCAGTCCTATACCAACACCTTTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCACCCAGAAGTCNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Puffinus tenuirostris

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 6
Specimens with Barcodes: 18
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

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

Contributor/s

Justification
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). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely 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.
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Global Short Term Trend: Increase of 10 to >25%

Comments: In the last 100 years, many new colonies have been established both within and outside the historical range, representing a major range expansion and a possible population expansion (see Austin et al. 1994).

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Population

Population
Brooke (2004) estimated the global population to number > c.23,000,000 individuals, while national population estimates include: < c.1,000 individuals on migration in Taiwan; >c.1,000 individuals on migration in Japan and >c.1,000 individuals on migration in Russia (Brazil 2009).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Comments: Many are killed in the Japanese gill-net fishery in the North Pacific (Lensink 1984, King 1984, Ogi 1984, DeGange and Day 1991).

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Comments: Prior to settlement by Europeans, aborigines in Tasmania harvested eggs and chicks for food. Subsequently, formed the basis of a muttonbird industry with up to one million chicks taken each year for their meat, feathers, and oil (Skira et al. 1985).

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Risks

IUCN Red List Category

Least Concern
  • Woehler E.J. (compiler) 2006. Species list prepared for SCAR/IUCN/BirdLife International Workshop on Antarctic Regional Seabird Populations, March 2005, Cambridge, UK.
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Wikipedia

Short-tailed shearwater

The short-tailed shearwater or slender-billed shearwater (Ardenna tenuirostris; formally Puffinus tenuirostris), also called yolla or moonbird, and commonly known as the muttonbird in Australia, is the most abundant seabird species in Australian waters, and is one of the few Australian native birds in which the chicks are commercially harvested. It is a migratory species that breeds mainly on small islands in Bass Strait and Tasmania and migrates to the Northern Hemisphere for the boreal summer.

Adult near Burrow on Bruny Island. The photograph was taken at night.
Fledgling, Austins Ferry, Tasmania, Australia

This species appears to be related to the sooty shearwater and the great shearwater, which are also blunt-tailed, black-billed species, but its precise relationships are obscure (Austin, 1996; Austin et al., 2004). These are among the larger species of shearwater, which it is suggested might belong in a separate genus, Ardenna (Penhallurick & Wink, 2004).

Each parent feeds the single chick for 2–3 days and then leaves for up to three weeks in search of food. These foraging trips can cover a distance of 1,500 km (930 mi) and mean the chick may be left unattended for over a week. When the chicks fledge they weigh around 900 g (2 lb), and may be heavier than their parents. In Tasmania, and especially on the muttonbird islands of the Furneaux Group, the chicks are harvested at this time for food and oil. The largest population in the world (2.8 millions of pairs - about 12% of this species) seems to be located on the Babel Island. Adult birds foraging for food on the open ocean mistake plastic debris for food and then feed it to their chicks.[2][3] This ingested plastic, as well as other factors, likely contribute to contamination of chicks.[4]

Each austral winter, the shearwaters migrate to the seas off the Aleutian Islands and Kamchatka. In the austral spring, they travel down the coast of California before crossing the Pacific back to Australia.

Culinary uses[edit]

Being a seabird, the flesh is covered in a considerable quantity of fat, which is normally removed in preparation of the meat before cooking.[citation needed]

When split down the breast and cooked on a barbecue, the resultant meat is red and thick, with a taste reminiscent of a beef steak more than of lamb, with a mild hint of the sea. The texture of the meat is similar to lamb or mutton and hence the name muttonbird.

References[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Ardenna tenuirostris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Carey MJ (2011) Intergenerational transfer of plastic debris by Short-tailed Shearwaters (Ardenna tenuirostris). Emu 111:229-234
  3. ^ Ogi H (1990) Ingestion of plastic particles by Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters in the North Pacific. In: Shomura RS, Godfrey ML (eds) Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Marine Debris, 2–7 April 1989, Book NOAA-TM-NMFS-SWFSC-154_P635. U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Honolulu
  4. ^ Lavers, J. L.; Bond, A. L. (2013-09-01). "Contaminants in indigenous harvests of apex predators: The Tasmanian Short-tailed Shearwater as a case study". Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 95: 78–82. doi:10.1016/j.ecoenv.2013.05.021. PMID 23769126.  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)
  • 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)

Further reading[edit]

Identification[edit]

Gillson, Greg (2008) Field separation of Sooty and Short-tailed Shearwaters off the west coast of North America Birding 40(2):34-40

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