Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Spanish (1) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The northern giant petrel breeding season generally begins towards the end of the Austral winter, with pairs establishing a nest site in August and laying a single egg between August and October (3). The small, loose breeding colonies generally comprise less than 50 pairs, with the untidy nests dispersed widely amongst tussock grass and rocky out-crops (4). The eggs are incubated for around 60 days, and the chicks fledge around 108 days after hatching (3) (4). Reproductive maturity is reached at around six years of age, but most individuals first breed three to five years later (2) (3) (4). The movements of adults over winter are poorly understood, but some have been observed to remain near the breeding colonies throughout the year, whilst others travel great distances across the ocean (3). Northern giant petrels feed opportunistically on a wide variety of prey including seal, whale, and penguin carrion, krill, octopus, squid, fish and other seabirds (2) (3) (4). Although females forage almost exclusively over the ocean, males also scavenge for carcasses on land (2) (4) (5). At sea, both male and females are aggressive and often gregarious when feeding, taking most prey by seizing it at the surface, or briefly diving into the water (3) (4). In addition, this species commonly scavenges for fish and offal discarded from ships, often feeding near trawlers and longliners (2) (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

Like its more southerly counterpart, the Northern giant petrel is a large seabird with a substantial wing span and an enormous bill. Adults have a largely grey-brown body, with an off-whitish head, neck and breast (2) (3) (4). The eyes are pale grey and the bill is pinkish-yellow, with an intimidating red-brown tip (2) (4). Although the sexes are similar in overall appearance, the male is conspicuously larger and heavier-billed than the female (2) (5). The juveniles are a darker, sooty brown, but become paler with age (2) (3) (4). In parts of its range, this species interbreeds with the closely related southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus), to produce hybrids that share features of both species (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

Range Description

Macronectes halli breeds at South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), Prince Edward Islands (South Africa), Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (French Southern Territories), Macquarie Island (Australia), Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes and Chatham Islands and, historically, on islets off Stewart Island (New Zealand). The world population in the 1980s was estimated at c.8,600 pairs (Hunter 1985). A more recent estimate (late 1990s) is 11,500 pairs, an apparent increase of 34% (Patterson et al. undated), which may be partly attributable to better monitoring, but also probably reflects greater availability of carrion from expanding populations of fur seals Arctocephalus gazella and A. tropicalis, increased waste from commercial fishing operations (Patterson et al. undated), and use of measures to reduce seabird bycatch around some breeding colonies, such as South Georgia (Georgias del Sur).


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Southern oceans, generally north of Antarctic convergence.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

The northern giant petrel has a circumpolar distribution, in open oceans between 40° and 64° south, but extending into subtropical waters, up to 28° south, during the winter and early spring (3) (4). Breeding populations are currently found at South Georgia, Prince Edward Island (South Africa), Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (French Southern Territories), Macquarie Island (Australia), and Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes and Chatham Islands (New Zealand) (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Where they co-exist at the same location, Northern Giant-petrels breed approximately six weeks before Southern Giant-petrels (Hunter 1987, De Bruyn et al. 2007). Birds feed on penguin and pinniped carrion, cephalopods, krill, offal, discarded fish and refuse from ships, often feeding near trawlers and longliners (Hunter and Brooke 1982, Hunter 1983). Males and females exhibit clearly defined spatial segregation in foraging ranges (Hunter 1983, Gonzalez Solis et al. 2000, Becker et al.2002, Gonzalez-Solis and Croxall 2005). During the breeding season, males exploit scavenging opportunities in and around seal and penguin colonies and are coastal in distribution, whereas females are much more dependent on pelagic resources (Patterson and Fraser 2003, BirdLife International 2004, Quintana and Dell'Arciprete). There is significant sexual dimorphism, with female mass approximately 80% that of males (Gonzalez-Solis 2004). Ringing recoveries indicate juveniles forage more widely than adults (Hunter 1984a). At some sites, its less colonial breeding habit may make it less sensitive to human disturbance than Southern Giant-petrel, though degree of coloniality does not differ on South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), the largest breeding colony (R. A. Phillips in litt. 2008). On the Chatham Islands, regurgitations from the birds on the Forty-Fours indicate a reliance on natural food sources (esp.Gnathophausia ingens) rather than carrion - there being no penguin colonies in the Chatham Islands (C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008). Average age of first breeding is c.10 years, and mean adult annual survival at South Georgia is 90% (Hunter 1984a).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Depth range based on 454 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 411 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): -1.670 - 15.471
  Nitrate (umol/L): 3.046 - 28.640
  Salinity (PPS): 33.341 - 35.265
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.787 - 8.188
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.445 - 1.977
  Silicate (umol/l): 3.083 - 89.471

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): -1.670 - 15.471

Nitrate (umol/L): 3.046 - 28.640

Salinity (PPS): 33.341 - 35.265

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.787 - 8.188

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.445 - 1.977

Silicate (umol/l): 3.083 - 89.471
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

The northern giant petrel frequents both oceanic and inshore waters, near breeding islands and outside of its breeding range. Breeding sites are typically located on coastlines with tussock grass and broken terrain that provide shelter for nests (3) (4).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Breeding Category

Visitor
  • Woehler E.J. (compiler) 2006. Species list prepared for SCAR/IUCN/BirdLife International Workshop on Antarctic Regional Seabird Populations, March 2005, Cambridge, UK.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Macronectes halli

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Macronectes halli

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 6
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Baker, B., Croxall, J., Patterson-Fraser, D., Phillips, R., Robertson, C. & Weimerskirsch, H.

Justification
This species had been predicted to undergo a moderately rapid population decline in the near future but has instead shown a significant increase during the past two decades (probably owing to greater availability of carrion from expanding populations of fur seals, increased waste from commercial fishing operations, and the use of measures to reduce seabird bycatch around some breeding colonies). It no longer approaches the threshold for classification as threatened and is therefore classified as Least Concern.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
The largest population is on South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), with c.4,500 pairs. followed by Chatham Islands (c.2000 pairs on the Forty-Fours and 80-100 pairs on Middle Sister), Iles Kerguelen (1,450-1,800 pairs), Iles Crozet (1,300 pairs), Macquarie Island (c.1,300 pairs), Prince Edward Island (650 pairs), Antipodes Island (230 pairs), Campbell Island (230 pairs) and the Auckland Group (50 pairs). In total, the population is estimated to number 11,000-14,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 17,000-21,000 individuals in total.

Population Trend
Increasing
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

Major Threats
A total of 2,000-4,000 giant-petrels were estimated killed in illegal or unregulated Southern Ocean longline fisheries for Patagonian toothfishDissostichus eleginoides in 1997-1998 (CCAMLR 1997, CCAMLR 1998). Improved mitigation in a number of Patagonian Toothfish longline fisheries around breeding colonies (including South Georgia {Georgias del Sur}) has led to a reduction in observed bycatch of this species in these areas. Secondary mortality (ingested hooks) and mortality associated with IUU fishing may still be a threat. On the Chatham Islands, fisheries bycatch returned by observers from NZ waters 1996-2005 returned only 17 birds (8 from trawl fisheries and 9 from longline) (C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

By far the greatest threat to the northern giant petrel is the occurrence of incidental mortality in the long-line fishery (2) (3) (4). These petrels frequently follow longline fishing vessels, and in the process of competing for baits often become hooked and drown, or ingest discarded hooks leading to serious injury (3). In addition, human disturbance and predation by feral rats and cats has probably had a negative impact on petrel survivorship on breeding islands, whilst oil spills, entanglement in marine debris, ingestion of plastic hooks, and the accumulation of chemical contaminants present further risks (3) (5).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II and ACAP Annex 1.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys of major breeding sites. Continue monitoring. Minimise disturbance at breeding sites. Research movements and migration. Promote adoption of best-practice mitigation measures in all fisheries within its range, including via intergovernmental mechanisms such as ACAP, FAO and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

The northern giant petrel is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and Annex 1 of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (2) (6) (7). Both these listings serve to promote international collaboration in the conservation and management of this species (6) (7). An increase in the northern giant petrel population between the 1980s and the late 1990s is thought to be partly attributable to the implementation of measures to reduce bycatch in some fisheries, as well as greater availability of carrion form expanding fur seal populations and increased food waste from ships (2). The current conservation measures being prioritised are to promote the use of bycatch reduction measures by all fisheries within this species' range, to minimise disturbance at breeding sites, and to continue monitoring the population and conduct further research into its year round movements (2) (5). Should its population continue to grow, the northern giant ground petrel is likely to warrant down listing in the future to a less threatened category on the IUCN Red List (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

IUCN Red List Category

Near Threatened
  • Woehler E.J. (compiler) 2006. Species list prepared for SCAR/IUCN/BirdLife International Workshop on Antarctic Regional Seabird Populations, March 2005, Cambridge, UK.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Northern giant petrel

The northern giant petrel (Macronectes halli), also known as the Hall's giant petrel, is a large predatory seabird of the southern oceans. Its distribution overlaps broadly with the similar southern giant petrel, though it overall is centred slightly further north.

Taxonomy[edit]

The northern giant petrel along with its counterpart, the southern giant petrel, make up the Macronectes genus. They come from the Procellariiformes order, which are referred to as tube-nosed seabirds, due to their unique nose structure. All tube-noses have tubular nostrils, and all Procellariidae have the openings on top of the upper portion of the bill. Procellariiformes also have between seven and nine distinct horny plates for their bill, and petrels have one of these plates that form the hooked portion of their upper bill called their maxillary unguis. They produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This can be sprayed out of their mouths as a defence against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.[3] Finally, they also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a concentrated saline solution from their nostrils.[4]

Etymology[edit]

Macronectes giganteus can be broken down as makros a Greek word meaning "long" or "large" and nēktēs meaning "swimmer". Northern giant petrel starts with "northern" referring to their habitat being further north than their counterpart the southern giant petrel, and "petrel" refers to Saint Peter and from the story of him walking on water, which refers to how they run on top of the water as they are getting airborne.[5]

Description[edit]

On Salisbury Plain, South Georgia, British Overseas Territories
Swimming in Cooper Bay, South Georgia

The northern giant petrel averages 90 cm (35 in) in length. Its plumage consists of grey-brown body with lighter coloured forehead, sides of face, and chin. Its bill is between 90–105 mm (3.5–4.1 in) long and is pinkish yellow with a brown tip, and its eyes are grey. The juvenile of this species is completely dark brown and lightens as it ages. It can be differentiated from the similar coloured southern giant petrel by the top of the bill, which on the southern is green.[6]

Behavior[edit]

Feeding[edit]

The northern giant petrel feeds mainly on carrion from penguins and pinnipeds, as well as krill, offal, cephalopods, and discarded fish and waste from ships. During the breeding season, males eat more carrion than females with the females feeding on pelagic sources.[6]

Breeding[edit]

Birds start breeding at an average age of ten years, and breed on islands in colonies, which they share with the southern giant petrel. They breed six weeks earlier than their counterpart though.[6]

Range and habitat[edit]

They are pelagic and fly throughout the Southern Oceans north of the Antarctic Convergence Zone, and north through Chile, Argentina, South Africa, and half of Australia. They nest on islands with the South Georgia group with 4,500 pairs. They also nest on some of the Chatham Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Crozet Islands, Macquarie Island and others. Their overall occurrence range is 82,600,000 km2 (31,900,000 sq mi).[6]

Conservation[edit]

Breeding population and trends[6]
LocationPopulationDateTrend
South Georgia4,500 pairs2005Increasing 30% per 20 yr
Forty-Fours2,000 pairs2000
Middle Sister80—100 pairs2000
Kerguelen Islands1,450—1,800 pairs1989
Crozet Islands1,300 pairs1989Decreasing
Macquarie Island1,300 pairsStable or Increasing
Prince Edward Islands650 pairsIncreasing
Antipodes Island230 pairs2003
Campbell Island230 pairs2000
Auckland Islands50 pairs2000
Total17,000—21,0002001Increasing 34% per 10 yr
Immature birds are more common at higher latitudes.

Overall their population stands at between 17,000 and 21,000 mature birds, based on a 2001 estimate. This number has been increasing over the last two decades even though it was forecast to decrease. This increase has allowed the IUCN to downgrade them from near threatened to least concern. Recent surveys have shown that most locations are increasing in numbers except for the Crozet Islands. This is probably due to increases in fish waste, better control on longline fishing, and more carrion from fur seals.[6]

Currently this bird is listed on CMS Appendix II and ACAP Annex 1. Future plans are to maintain the surveys and counting of individuals, researching movement and migrations, continuing the trend of lowering the bycatch deaths by current means and if needed newer measures through CCAMLR, CMS, and FAO.[6]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Macronectes halli". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ BirdLife International (2009a)
  3. ^ Double, M. C. (2003)
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
  5. ^ Gotch, A. T. (1995)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g BirdLife International (2009)

References[edit]

Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!