Pink-footed Shearwater Ardenna creatopus Scientific name definitions

Ryan D. Carle, Valentina Colodro, Jonathan Felis, Joshua Adams, and Peter J. Hodum
Version: 2.0 — Published April 9, 2022



The Pink-footed Shearwater occurs almost exclusively in the eastern Pacific Ocean, where it migrates between the breeding range in the central and southern Humboldt Current System, and the nonbreeding range in the northern Humboldt and California Current Systems (8, 25, 26, 27, 16). Breeds only on islands off the coast of central Chile (8).

Breeding Range

Known to nest on three islands in Chile: Isla Mocha, Isla Robinson Crusoe (also known as Más a Tierra), and Isla Santa Clara (8). Isla Mocha (38.36°S, 73.92°W; surface area 47.82 km2) is located at the shelf break, 35 km offshore of south-central Chile. Isla Robinson Crusoe (33.67°S, 78.84°W; surface area 52 km2) and Isla Santa Clara (33.70°S, 78.94°W; surface area 2.21 km2) are part of the oceanic Juan Fernández Islands, located 670 km west of the South American continent (8, 4). Several islands in south-central Chile with potential nesting habitat have not been thoroughly searched for nesting Pink-footed Shearwater, including Isla Guafo (43.60°S, 74.70°W), a large island south of Chiloé.

During the breeding period, birds primarily forage in waters over the narrow continental shelf, within 25 km of shore (28, 29; see Habitat in Breeding Range). Birds from the Juan Fernández Islands also forage in deeper waters around the archipelago (Oikonos, unpublished data). See Movements and Migration: Movement for details on at-sea habitat during breeding period.

Nonbreeding Range

During the nonbreeding period (austral winter), occurs in the eastern Pacific Ocean less than 1,000 km from mainland coasts in waters from northern Chile to the northern Gulf of Alaska (16, 6). Core nonbreeding period areas include continental shelf (< 200 m depth) and slope (200–1000 m depth) waters off Peru from Trujillo to Lima, central Baja California, Mexico, and the west coast of North America from southern California, United States to northern Vancouver Island, Canada (27, 16). Some individuals also visit the Gulf of California, Mexico (30, 16).

Extralimital Records

Recorded as a vagrant west to Hawai‘i, Kiribati (Line Islands), New Zealand, and Australia (31, 4). There have been more records in New Zealand as data sources such as eBird have expanded, suggesting it may occur more regularly there than previously thought (27, 6). There is a single Atlantic Ocean record from Chubut Province, Argentina, in May 1981 (32).

Historical Changes to the Distribution

Based on interviews with elderly residents, the species may have formerly nested on Isla Santa Maria, Chile (37.02°S, 73.52°W; Oikonos unpublished data). However, a search of the main island in 2017 indicated it is probably extirpated there due to extensive human impacts (Oikonos, unpublished data). One islet off the north coast of Isla Santa Maria, called Islote Farallón ( ) is uninhabited by humans. This islet was not searched and could have suitable habitat.

Distribution of the Pink-footed Shearwater - Range Map
  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding
Distribution of the Pink-footed Shearwater

Recommended Citation

Carle, R. D., V. Colodro, J. Felis, J. Adams, and P. J. Hodum (2022). Pink-footed Shearwater (Ardenna creatopus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (P. G. Rodewald and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.pifshe.02