SPECIES

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

Photos from this Account

Juvenile Pink-footed Shearwater.

Juveniles show very fresh plumage following fledging in April-August. During May-June almost all older birds are in molt, so the lack of molt also indicates a juvenile at this time of year. Note also the long and tapered axillars, with a moderate amount of white mottling to the base.

Juvenile Pink-footed Shearwater.
Formative Pink-footed Shearwater (or undergoing Preformative Molt).

By October the outer primaries of birds in Juvenile and Formative Plumages are more worn, brownish, and uniform in wear, lacking molt clines or a contrast between darker fresher s1 and browner and more worn p1. Some scapulars have been replaced indicating ongoing Preformative Molt or a bird in Formative Plumage.

Pink-footed Sheawater undergoing Second Prebasic Molt.

Some individuals can be mostly to (perhaps rarely) entirely dark below. These are often referred to as "dark morph" although plumage variation seems clinal between the palest and darkest individuals. Darker individuals can be separated from Flesh-footed Shearwaters by being duskier gray, less brownish, having duller pink bases to the bills, and by almost always showing at least some pale feathering to the underparts and underwing coverts where Pink-footed Shearwaters are white. This bird can be aged by the retained brown and pointed juvenile outer primaries and the early timing to primary replacement, indicating the Second Prebasic Molt.

Definitive Basic Pink-footed Shearwater.

Birds in fresh Definitive Basic Plumage have grayish upperparts with finely fringed feathers, resulting in a scaled appearance. The upperwing greater coverts can be tipped white. Underparts are white with variable gray mottling; this individual is whiter than average below. Definitive Basic can be separated from Juvenile and Formative Plumages by the fresh, dark, and broad flight feathers, showing a replacement cline from inner to outer primaries, and a darker and fresher s1 than p1. Note also the blackish axillars.

Definitive Basic Pink-footed Shearwater.

The white areas of Definitive Basic Plumage can be variably mottled dark. This individual shows rather heavy gray mottling to the underparts and underwing coverts. Note the broad dark remiges and axillars, indicating Definitive Basic as opposed to Juvenile or Formative Plumage.

Pink-footed Shearwater undergoing Definitive Prebasic Molt.

In May and June almost all older birds are undergoing molt of primaries, separating them from Juveniles which do not undergo flight-feather molt during their first 7-10 months of life. Here the earlier timing of molt progression along with the broad unmolted outer primaries indicates the Definitive rather than the Second Prebasic Molt.

Pink-footed Shearwater undergoing Definitive Prebasic Molt.

In May and June, almost all older birds are undergoing molt of primaries, separating them from Juveniles which do not undergo flight-feather molt during their first 7-10 months of life. Here the earlier timing of molt progression along with the broad unmolted outer primaries indicates the Definitive rather than the Second Prebasic Molt.

Wing detail showing molt pattern.

Freshly replaced feathers are gray with narrow white tips.

Bird showing head detail.
Isla Robinson Crusoe as seen from Isla Santa Clara.
Isla Santa Clara; Isla Robinson Crusoe in the background.
Potential Pink-footed Shearwater habitat on Islote Farallón off of Isla Santa Maria, Chile.
Breeding habitat in Isla Mocha, Chile.

Pink-footed Shearwaters nest in the upper parts of the mountains seen in this photo, where they dig burrows often among the roots of trees.

Piedra Agujereada breeding colony on Isla Robinson Crusoe, Chile.

Pink-footed Shearwaters nest mainly on steep, windy, slopes on Isla Robinson Crusoe.

Birds foraging in Isla Mocha’ waters during the breeding season.
Bird with fish.
Birds fighting with Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) for food.
South American coati (Nasua nasua) is one of the introduced mammals in the Juan Fernández Islands and are a verified predator of Pink-footed Shearwater.
Adult on nesting site; Isla Mocha, Chile.
Downy chick in burrow.
Adult in front of nest-burrow entrance; Isla Mocha, Chile.
Pink-footed Shearwater egg.
South American coati (Nasua nasua) is one of the introduced mammals in the Juan Fernández Islands.
Feral cat (Felis catus) on a breeding colony on Isla Mocha.
Feral cats (Felis catus) are a verified predator of Pink-footed Shearwater and had been introduced to Juan Fernández Islands.

Macaulay Library Photos for Pink-footed Shearwater

Top-rated photos submitted to the Macaulay Library via eBird. Note: Our content editors have not confirmed the species identification for these photos.

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