Skip to main content Accessibility help

Preliminary survival and movement data for a declining population of Flesh-footed Shearwater Ardenna carneipes in Western Australia provides insights into marine threats



Seabirds face diverse threats on their breeding islands and while at sea. Human activities have been linked to the decline of seabird populations, yet over-wintering areas typically receive little or no protection. Adult survival rates, a crucial parameter for population persistence in long-lived species, tend to be spatially or temporally restricted for many seabird species, limiting our understanding of factors driving population trends at some sites. We used bio-loggers to study the migration of Western Australian Flesh-footed Shearwaters Ardenna carneipes carneipes and estimated adult survival over five years. Western Australia is home to around 35% of the world’s breeding Flesh-footed Shearwaters, a population which was up-listed to Vulnerable in 2015. During the austral winter, shearwaters migrated across the central Indian Ocean to their non-breeding grounds off western Sri Lanka. Low site fidelity on breeding islands, mortality of adult birds at sea (e.g. fisheries bycatch), and low annual breeding frequency likely contributed to the low estimated annual adult survival (2011–2015: ϕ = 0.634-0.835).


Corresponding author

*Author for correspondence; e-mail:


Hide All
Abdulali, H. and Grubh, R. B. (1982) Pink-footed Shearwater [Procellaria carneipes (Gould)] in India. J. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 79: 666667.
Akaike, H. (1974) A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Trans. Automat. Contr. 19: 716723.10.1109/TAC.1974.1100705
Anderson, O. R. J., Small, C. J., Croxall, J. P., Dunn, E. K., Sullivan, B. J., Yates, O. and Black, A. (2011) Global seabird bycatch in longline fisheries. Endangered Species Res. 14: 91106.10.3354/esr00347
Artukhin, Y. B., Burkanov, V. N. and Nikulin, V. S. (2010) [Accidental bycatch of marine birds and mammals in the salmon gilnet fishery in the northwestern Pacific Ocean]. Moscow: Kamchatka Branch of the Pacific Geophysical Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences. (In Russian).
Ballance, L. T., Pitman, R. L., Reilly, S. B. and Force, M. P. (1996) Report of a cetacean, seabird, marine turtle and flying fish survey of the western tropical Indian Ocean aboard the research vessel Malcolm Baldrige, March 21-July 26, 1995. (NOAA Technical Memorandum). U.S. Department of Commerce.
Barbraud, C., Booth, A., Taylor, G. A. and Waugh, S. M. (2014) Survivorship in Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes at two sites in northen New Zealand. Mar. Ornithol. 42: 9197.
BirdLife International (2017) IUCN Red List for birds species factsheet: Ardenna carneipes. Downloaded from on 22/09/2017.
Bond, A. L. and Lavers, J. L. (2011) Trace element concentrations in feathers of Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) from across their breeding range. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 61: 318326.10.1007/s00244-010-9605-3
Bond, A. L., Jones, I. L., Williams, J. C. and Byrd, G. V. (2013) Survival and reproductive success of Crested Auklets (Aethia cristatella) in the presence of introduced Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). Mar. Ornithol. 41: 4147.
Bond, A. L. and Lavers, J. L. (2014) Climate change alters the trophic niche of a declining apex marine predator. Global Change Biol. 20: 21002107.10.1111/gcb.12554
Brooke, M. d. L. (2004) Albatrosses and petrels across the world. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Brothers, N. P., Reid, T. A. and Gales, R. P. (1997) At-sea distribution of Shy Albatrosses Diomedea cauta cauta derived from records of band recoveries and colour-marked birds. Emu 97: 231239.
Burnham, K. P. and Anderson, D. R. (2002) Model selection and multi-model inference. New York: Springer Science + Business Media.
Buxton, R. T., Currey, C. A., Lyver, P. O. B. and Jones, C. J. (2013) Incidence of plastic fragments among burrow-nesting seabird colonies on offshore islands in northern New Zealand. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 74: 420424.10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.07.011
Campbell, O., Smiles, M., Roberts, H., Judas, J. and Pedersen, T. (2017) Gulf of Oman: analysis of seabird records of boat trips from the east coast of the United Arab Emirates 20I0-2016. Sandgrouse 39: 138164.
Carey, M. J. (2011) Investigator disturbance reduces reproductive success in Short-tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenuirostris. Ibis 153: 363372.10.1111/j.1474-919X.2011.01109.x
Catry, T., Ramos, J. A., Le Corre, M. and Phillips, R. A. (2009) Movements, at-sea distribution and behaviour of a tropical pelagic seabird: the Wedge-tailed Shearwater in the western Indian Ocean. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 391: 231242.10.3354/meps07717
Chambers, L. E., Devney, C. A., Congdon, B. C., Dunlop, J. N., Woehler, E. J. and Dann, P. (2011) Observed and predicted effects of climate on Australian seabirds. Emu 111: 235251.10.1071/MU10033
Chastel, O. (1995) Influence of reproductive success on breeding frequency in four southern petrels. Ibis 137: 360363.10.1111/j.1474-919X.1995.tb08033.x
Chastel, O. (1995) Influence of reproductive success on breeding frequency in four southern petrels. Ibis 137: 360363.10.1111/j.1474-919X.1995.tb08033.x
Choquet, R., Lebreton, J.-D., Gimenez, O., Reboulet, A.-M. and Pradel, R. (2009) U-CARE: Utilities for performing goodness of fit tests and manipulating CApture–REcapture data. Ecography 32: 10711074.10.1111/j.1600-0587.2009.05968.x
Coll, M., Piroddi, C., Albouy, C., Ben Rais Lasram, F., Cheung, W. W. L., Christensen, V., Karpouzi, V. S., Guilhaumon, F., Mouillot, D., Paleczny, M., Palomares, M. L., Steenbeek, J., Trujillo, P., Watson, R. and Pauly, D. (2012) The Mediterranean Sea under siege: spatial overlap between marine biodiversity, cumulative threats and marine reserves. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 21: 465480.10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00697.x
Costello, M. J., Coll, M., Danovaro, R., Halpin, P., Ojaveer, H. and Miloslavich, P. (2010) A census of marine biodiversity knowledge, resources, and future challenges. PLoS One 5: e12110.10.1371/journal.pone.0012110
Croxall, J. P. P., Butchart, S. H. M., Lascelles, B., Stattersfield, A. J. J., Sullivan, B. J. J., Symes, A. and Taylor, P. (2012) Seabird conservation status, threats and priority actions: a global assessment. Bird Conserv. Internatn. 22: 134.10.1017/S0959270912000020
De Silva, R. I. and Perera, L. (1995) Shearwater migration off the coast of Sri Lanka. Loris 20: 97100.
de Vos, A., Pattiaratchi, C. B. and Wijeratne, E. M. S. (2013) Surface circulation and upwelling patterns around Sri Lanka. Biogeosci. Discuss. 10: 1495314998.10.5194/bgd-10-14953-2013
DeGange, A. R. and Day, R. H. (1991) Mortality of seabirds in the Japanese land-based gillney fishery for salmon. Condor 93: 251258.10.2307/1368940
DPaW (2015) Wildlife conservation (specially protected fauna) notice 2015. (Government gazette of Western Australia). Perth: Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Dunlop, J. N. (2007) Protected species bycatch in Zone 1 of the South Coast Purse Seine Fishery 2010/11. Perth: Department of Environment and Conservation.
Dunlop, J. N., McNeill, S. and Cannell, B. (2013) Seabird feathers as indicators of mercury & selenium contamination in the coastal waters of south Western Australia. Perth: Conservation Council of Western Australia.
Felicísimo, Á. M., Muñoz, J. and González-Solis, J. (2008) Ocean surface winds drive dynamics of transoceanic aerial movements. PLoS One 3: e2928.10.1371/journal.pone.0002928
Finkelstein, M. E., Wolf, S., Goldman, M., Doak, D. F., Sievert, P. R., Balogh, G. and Hasegawa, H. (2010) The anatomy of a (potential) disaster: Volcanoes, behavior, and population viability of the Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus). Biol. Conserv. 143: 321331.10.1016/j.biocon.2009.10.013
Fletcher, W. J. and Tregonning, R. J. (1992) Distribution and timing of spawning by the Australian pilchard (Sardinops sagax neopilchardus) off Albany, Western Australia. Mar. Freshwater Res. 43: 14371449.10.1071/MF9921437
Gaze, P. (2000) The response of a colony of Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) and Flesh-footed Shearwater (P. carneipes) to the cessation of harvesting and the eradication of Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). New Zealand J. Zool. 27: 375379.10.1080/03014223.2000.9518247
Gibson-Hill, C. A. (1953) Notes on the sea birds of the orders Procellariformes and Pelecaniformes recorded as strays or visitors to the Ceylon coast. Spolia Zeylanica 27: 83201.
Grémillet, D. and Boulinier, T. (2009) Spatial ecology and conservation of seabirds facing global climate change: a review. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 391: 121137.
Hedd, A., Montevecchi, W. A., Otley, H., Phillips, R. A. and Fifield, D. A. (2012) Trans-equatorial migration and habitat use by Sooty Shearwaters Puffinus griseus from the South Atlantic during the nonbreeding season. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 449: 277290.
Huang, H.-W. and Liu, K.-M. (2010) Bycatch and discards by Taiwanese large-scale tuna longline fleets in the Indian Ocean. Fish Res. 106: 261270.
IOTC (2015) Report of the 11th Session of the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch, IOTC–2015–WPEB11–R[E]. Olhão, Portugal:Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.
Jones, I. L., Hunter, F. M. and Robertson, G. J. (2002) Annual adult survival of Least Auklets (Aves, Alcidae) varies with large-scale climatic conditions of the North Pacific Ocean. Oecologia 133: 3844.
Jones, I. L., Hunter, F. M. and Robertson, G. J. (2002) Annual adult survival of Least Auklets (Aves, Alcidae) varies with large-scale climatic conditions of the North Pacific Ocean. Oecologia 133: 3844.
Lavers, J. L. (2007) Cumulative mortality and population parameters for a vulnerable seabird. Chapter Seven: Populations under pressure. St. John’s, Newfoundland: Memorial University of Newfoundland.
Lavers, J. L. (2015) Population status and threats to Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) in South and Western Australia. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 72: 316327.
Lavers, J. L., Bond, A. L., Van Wilgenburg, S. L. and Hobson, K. A. (2013) Linking at-sea mortality of a pelagic shearwater to breeding colonies of origin using biogeochemical markers. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 491: 265275.
Lavers, J. L., Bond, A. L. and Hutton, I. (2014a) Plastic ingestion by Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes): Implications for chick body condition and the accumulation of plastic-derived chemicals. Environ. Pollut. 187: 124129.
Lavers, J. L., Miller, M. G. R., Carter, M. J., Swann, G. and Clarke, R. H. (2014b) Predicting the spatial distribution of a seabird community to identify priority conservation areas in the Timor Sea. Conserv. Biol. 28: 16991709.
Le Bohec, C., Gauthier-Clerc, M., Gremillet, D., Pradel, R., Bechet, A., Gendner, J. P. and Le Maho, Y. (2007) Population dynamics in a long-lived seabird: I. Impact of breeding activity on survival and breeding probability in unbanded King Penguins. J. Anim. Ecol. 76: 11491160.
Lebreton, J. D., Burnham, K. P., Clobert, J. and Anderson, D. R. (1992) Modeling survival and testing biological hypotheses using marked animals: a unified approach with case studies. Ecol. Monogr. 62: 67118.
Lewison, R. L. and Crowder, L. B. (2003) Estimating fishery bycatch and effects on a vulnerable seabird population. Ecol. Applic. 13: 743753.
Lewison, R. L., Crowder, L. B., Read, A. J. and Freeman, S. A. (2004) Understanding impacts of fisheries bycatch on marine megafauna. Trends Ecol. Evol. 19: 598604.
Lisovski, S., Hewson, C. M., Klaassen, R. H. G., Korner-Nievergelt, F., Kristensen, M. W. and Hahn, S. (2012) Geolocation by light: Accuracy and precision affected by environmental factors. Methods Ecol. Evol. 3: 503612.
Louzao, M., Hyrenbach, K. D., Arcos, J. M., Abelló, P., de Sola, L. G. and Oro, D. (2006) Oceanographic habitat of an endangered Mediterranean procellariiform: implications for marine protected areas. Ecol. Applic. 16: 16831695.
Lunney, D., Curtin, A. L., Ayers, D., Cogger, H. G., Dickman, C. R., Maitz, W., Law, B. and Fisher, D. (2000) The threatened and non-threatened native vertebrate fauna of New South Wales: status and ecological attributes. Sydney: National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Marra, P. P., Cohen, E. B., Loss, S. R., Rutter, J. E. and Tonra, C. M. (2015) A call for full annual cycle research in animal ecology. Biol. Lett. 11: 20150552.
Mills, M. S. L. and Ryan, P. G. (2005) Modelling impacts of long-line fishing: what are the effects of pair-bond disruption and sex-biased mortality on albatross fecundity? Anim. Conserv. 8: 359367.
Mougin, J. L., Jouanin, C. and Roux, F. (1997) Intermittent breeding in Cory’s Shearwater Calonectris diomedea of Selvagem Grande, North Atlantic. Ibis 139: 4044.
Nezlin, N. P., Polikarpov, I. G. and Al-Yamani, F. (2007) Satellite-measured chlorophyll distribution in the Arabian Gulf: Spatial, seasonal and inter-annual variability. International J. Oceans Oceanol. 2: 139156.
Ogi, H. (2008) International and national problems in fisheries seabird by-catch. J. Disaster Res. 3: 187195.
Pocklington, R. (1979) An oceanographic interpretation of seabird distributions in the Indian Ocean. Mar. Biol. 51: 921.
Powell, C. D. L. (2009) Foraging movements and the migration trajectory of Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carneipes from the south coast of Western Australia. Mar. Ornithol. 37: 115120.
Powell, C. D. L., Wooller, R. D. and Bradley, J. S. (2007) Breeding biology of the Flesh-footed Shearwater (Puffinus carneipes) on Woody Island, Western Australia. Emu 107: 275283.
Pradel, R., Rioux, N., Tamisier, A. and Lebreton, J. D. (1997) Individual turnover among wintering teal in Camargue: A mark-recapture study. J. Wildl. Manage. 61: 816821.
Prasad, R. R. and Nair, P. V. R. (1960) A preliminary account of primary production and its relation to fisheries of the inshore waters of the Gulf of Mannar. Indian J. Fisheries 7: 165168.
Prévot-Julliard, A. C., Lebreton, J. D. and Pradel, R. (1998) Re-evaluation of adult survival of Black-Headed Gulls (Larus ridibundus) in presence of cecapture heterogeneity. The Auk 115: 8595.
Priddel, D., Carlile, N., Fullagar, P., Hutton, I. and O’Neill, L. (2006) Decline in the distribution and abundance of Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) on Lord Howe Island, Australia. Biol. Conserv. 128: 412424.
Rayner, M. J., Taylor, G. A., Thompson, D. R., Torres, L. G., Sagar, P. M. and Shaffer, S. A. (2011) Migration and diving activity in three non-breeding Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carneipes. J. Avian Biol. 42: 266270.
Reid, T., Hindell, M. and Wilcox, C. (2012) Environmental determinants of the at-sea distribution of encounters between Flesh-footed Shearwaters Puffinus carniepes and fishing vessels. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 447: 231242.
Reid, T., Hindell, M., Lavers, J. L. and Wilcox, C. (2013a) Re-examining mortality sources and population trends in a declining seabird: using Bayesian methods to incorporate existing information and new data. PLoS One 8: e58230.
Reid, T., Tuck, G. N., Hindell, M. A., Thalmann, S., Phillips, R. A. and Wilcox, C. (2013b) Nonbreeding distribution of Flesh-footed Shearwaters and the potential for overlap with North Pacific fisheries. Biol. Conserv. 166: 310.
Richard, Y. and Abraham, E. R. (2013) Risk of commercial fisheries to New Zealand seabird populations. Wellington: New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report No. 109.
Robertson, H. A., Dowding, J. E., Elliott, G. P., Hitchmough, R. A., Miskelly, C. M., O’Donnell, C. F. J., Powlesland, R. G., Sagar, P. M., Scofield, R. P. and Taylor, G. A. (2013) Conservation status of New Zealand birds, 2012. New Zealand Threat Classification Series 4. Wellington: Department of Conservation.
Spear, L. B. and Ainley, D. G. (1997) Flight speed of seabirds in relation to wind speed and direction. Ibis 139: 234251.
Sumner, M. D., Wotherspoon, S. J. and Hindell, M. A. (2009) Bayesian estimation of animal movement from archival and satellite tags. PLoS One 4: e7324.
Thalmann, S., Baker, G. B., Hindell, M., Double, M. C. and Gales, R. (2007) Using biometric measurements to determine gender of Flesh-footed Shearwaters, and their application as a tool in long-line by-catch management and ecological field studies. Emu 107: 231238.
Thompson, K. R. and Furness, R. W. (1991) The influence of rainfall and nest-site quality on the population dynamics of the Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus on Rhum. J. Zool. 225: 427437.
Tiller, C. J., Klomp, N. I., Fullagar, P. C, and Heyligers, P. J. (2013) Catastrophic breeding failure in shearwaters caused by heavy rainfall. Mar. Ornithol. 41: 9799.
Tuck, G. N. N., Polacheck, T. and Bulman, C. M. M. (2003) Spatio-temporal trends of longline fishing effort in the Southern Ocean and implications for seabird bycatch. Biol. Conserv. 114: 127.
Vinayachandran, P. N., Chauhan, P., Mohan, M. and Nayak, S. (2004) Biological response of the sea around Sri Lanka to summer monsoon. Geophys Res Lett 31: L01302–L01302.
Wahl, T. R. and Heinemann, D. (1969) Seabirds and fishing vessels: co-occurrence and attraction. Condor 81: 390396.
Warham, J. (1958) The nesting of the shearwater Puffinus carneipes. The Auk 75: 114.
Warham, J. (1990) The petrels: their ecology and breeding systems. London: Academic Press.
Waugh, S. M., MacKenzie, D. I. and Fletcher, D. (2008) Seabird bycatch in New Zealand trawl and longline fisheries, 1998-2004. Pap. Proc. R Soc. Tas. 142: 4566.
Waugh, S. M., Filippi, D. P., Kirby, D. S., Abraham, E. and Walker, N. (2012) Ecological Risk Assessment for seabird interactions in Western and Central Pacific longline fisheries. Marine Policy 36: 933946.
Waugh, S. M., Tennyson, A., Taylor, G. and Wilson, K.-J. (2013) Population sizes of shearwaters (Puffinus spp.) breeding in New Zealand, with recommendations for monitoring. Tuhinga 24: 159204.
Waugh, S. M., Jamieson, S. E., Stahl, J. C., Filippi, D. P., Taylor, G. A. and Booth, A. (2014) Flesh-footed Shearwater – population study and foraging areas (POP2011–02). Final report. Wellington, New Zealand.
Weimerskirch, H., Louzao, M., de Grissac, S. and Delord, K. (2012) Changes in wind pattern alter albatross distribution and life-history traits. Science 335: 211214.
White, G. C. and Burnham, K. P. (1999) Program MARK: survival estimation from populations of marked animals. Bird Study 46: S120S139.
Yonehara, Y., Goto, Y., Yoda, K., Watanuki, Y., Young, L. C., Weimerskirch, H., Bost, C.-A. and Sato, K. (2016) Flight paths of seabirds soaring over the ocean surface enable measurement of fine-scale wind speed and direction. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 113: 90399044.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Lavers et al. supplementary material
Lavers et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (179 KB)
179 KB

Preliminary survival and movement data for a declining population of Flesh-footed Shearwater Ardenna carneipes in Western Australia provides insights into marine threats



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.