August 2020
This is the final annual report for POP2018-04: Flesh-footed shearwater population monitoring 2020/21


This report covers the findings from the third and final year of flesh-footed shearwater (Ardenna carneipes) research under Conservation Services Programme project POP2018-04. Here we report on the ongoing population monitoring of flesh-footed shearwaters on Ohinau and Lady Alice Islands and three updated flesh-footed shearwater population estimates: Coppermine, Whatupuke and Taranga Islands.

During the 2020/21 season we monitored 270 and 290 study burrows on Ohinau and Lady Alice Islands respectively. The breeding success (burrows with an egg that produce a chick that is likely to survive to fledging) on Ohinau Island was 58%, similar to the 62% measured in the 2018/19 season. Breeding success on Lady Alice Island was 48%, which was also similar to the 52% measured in 2018/19. There were no detectable differences in breeding success between study and burrowscope (control) burrows indicating no impact of handler disturbance. We were able to identify 80% of the birds in breeding study burrows on Ohinau Island and 75% in burrows on Lady Alice Island. An additional 315 and 148 flesh-footed shearwaters were banded on Ohinau and Lady Alice Island respectively.

Burrow transects were carried out on Coppermine and Whatupuke Islands to gather data for an updated population estimate each island. Taranga was also surveyed to confirm the presence/absence of flesh-footed shearwaters on the island. We estimate that there are a total of 2,869 (2,142 – 3,597, 95% CI) occupied burrows on Coppermine Island and 1125 (647 – 1,603, 95% CI) occupied burrows on Whatupuke Island. No flesh-footed shearwaters were detected on Taranga and this confirms they are absent from the island.

The 2019/20 season report can be found here, and the 2018/19 season report here.

Publication information

Crowe, P. and Burgin, D. 2021. Flesh-footed shearwater population monitoring and estimates: 2020/21 season. POP2018-04 final report prepared by Wildlife Management International Limited for the New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington. 47 p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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