IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

Distribution

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Range Description

Pterodroma axillaris is restricted to South East Island (= Rangatira) and Pitt Island and Main Chatham Island in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand, having been reintroduced to both of the latter two (J. Hobbs in litt. 2009). Subfossils indicate that it was once more widespread, being present on Mangere Islands (A. J. D. Tennyson per P. Scofield in litt. 2012). The earliest estimate of 50 birds was later revised to 200-400 (Marchant and Higgins 1990). A mark-recapture census in 2004 estimated that the global population stood at 1,000-1,100 individuals comprising 250 breeding pairs, a floater population of adults unable to breed each year owing to loss of partners or nesting sites, and juveniles aged up to five years (Taylor 2000, G. Taylor in litt. 2009). The increase reflects an improvement in knowledge and since 2000, a marked response to successful management with over 100 chicks now fledging annually and many recruiting back to the island. Significant declines occurred during the 20th century and continued into the 1990s; an annual decline of 1% per annum has been crudely estimated and cautious interpretation suggests a gross decline of 40-50% or more may have occurred over the past three generations (G. Taylor in litt. 2009). Trends appear to have stabilised since 2000, prompted by successful conservation measures. Between 2002 and 2006, 200 chicks were moved to a newly created predator-free site on Pitt Island; successful breeding first occurred in 2006 (Anon 2006), and 17 pairs were present in 2012 (G. Taylor in litt. 2012). About 200 chicks were transferred to the 7.5-ha Sweetwater Conservation Covenant on the main Chatham Island between 2008 and 2011. The first breeding attempt at this site occurred in 2012 (G. Taylor in litt. 2012). It migrates to the northern Pacific Ocean like the closely-related P. nigripennis, and has been recorded at sea to the south of the islands (Heather and Robertson 1997, R. Hitchmough in litt. 2005). Tracking research conducted in 2009/2010 using geolocators has shown that birds feed mainly south and east of the Chatham Islands during the breeding season, with the Bollons Seamount being important during chick rearing (Rayner et al. 2012), and migrate to the eastern Pacific in winter to an area over and north of the Nazca sea ridge, about 1000-1500 km west of Chile and Peru (G. Taylor in litt. 2012).

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© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

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