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Flesh-footed Shearwater - BirdForum Opus

Photo by Swissboy
Lord Howe Island, October 2007
Ardenna carneipes


Length 40–45 cm, wingspan 99–107 cm, weight 580–765 g
A large, all-dark shearwater with short tail, stout bill pink with dark tip, and pinkish legs.

Similar species

Hard to distinguish from Sooty Shearwater and Short-tailed Shearwater at any distance; underwing is most useful, being all-dark, lacking the paler central band on the underwing they show. At close range, also distinguishable from these by the stout, pinkish bill and pale pinkish lags. Pink-footed Shearwater shares the bill and leg characters, but is singificantly paler below, whitish in the belly. Dark morph of Wedge-tailed Shearwater is also very similar, best told by its longer, somewhat tapered tail, and slender, dark bill.


Breeds on islands in the south Indian and southwestern Pacific Oceans, on Amsterdam Island, and islands off the south and east coasts of Australia and around New Zealand.
Winters to Arabian Sea, northwestern Pacific and in smaller numbers to northeastern Pacific. Like other shearwaters, follows prevailing winds to have a broadly figure-of-eight migration, with anitclockwise movement in the southern hemisphere and clockwise movement in the northern hemisphere.


Photo by chiemomo
Lord Howe Island, February 2005

This is a monotypic species[1].

Formerly placed in the genus Puffinus. Has sometimes been considered conspecific with Pink-footed Shearwater, which replaces Flesh-footed Shearwater in the southeast Pacific Ocean[2].


Almost entirely pelagic. Prefers warmer surface waters.


Photo by Jim O'Shea
Tasman sea

Readily associates with other shearwater species such as Sooty Shearwater and Pink-footed Shearwater. It is not strongly attracted to boats, except when fishing boats are discarding offal.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2015. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2015, with updates to August 2015. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliot, and J Sargatal, eds. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8487334108

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