Bird of the Week, June 17, 2011
Pink-footed Shearwater


Pink-footed Shearwater by Greg Lavaty

 

The Pink-footed Shearwater breeds only on Isla Mocha and two of the Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile. Like other shearwaters, this species nests in colonies, in burrows up to four feet long that the birds dig themselves.

 

This ground-nesting habit makes the Pink-footed Shearwater especially vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators such as rats and cats, and to trampling by grazing mammals such as cows. Human inhabitants of Isla Mocha harvest the chicks for food, perhaps at unsustainable levels.


The diet of the Pink-footed Shearwater consists of fish, squid, and possibly crustaceans. These birds also follow fishing boats, putting them at risk of being hooked or tangled in fishing gear.


ABC and partner group Oikonos are working with local groups to reduce chick harvesting on Isla Mocha and to restore habitat on Robinson Crusoe and Santa Clara in the Juan Fernandez Islands. We are also investigating bycatch risk by examining the birds’ overlap with fisheries along their journey north.  This year we are following nine adults with satellite transmitters.  You can track their progress by clicking here.

 

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Photo: Pink-footed Shearwater by Greg Lavaty; Range Map: NatureServe