Puffinus griseus is an abundant shearwater, breeding on islands off New Zealand, Australia and Chile, and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). In Australia there are colonies on 17 islands (all of less than 1,000 pairs), southern Chile (many colonies, some up to 200,000 pairs and up to 4 million birds on Isla Guafo12) and the Falklands (10,000-20,000 pairs) and more than 80 colonies in New Zealand (totalling c.5 million pairs)1. In 1970-71, the Snares Islands colonies were estimated to support 2,750,000 breeding pairs2,3. The total world population is thought to be over 20 million birds3. Although this is an extremely numerous species, there are persistent signs of a current decline4. In New Zealand, the number of burrows in the largest colony (on the Snares islands) declined by 37% between 1969-1971 and 1996-2000, and burrow occupancy may also have declined, indicating that an overall population decline may have occurred5,6. Elsewhere the mainland New Zealand, colonies are in decline and certain offshore colonies have not responded to predator control7,8. In the California Current, Sooty Shearwater numbers have fallen by 90% in the last 20 years9. It remains uncertain whether this has resulted from population declines or distributional shifts10.
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