Articles on this page are available in 1 other language: Chinese (Simplified) (5) (learn more)

Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Black-footed albatrosses, like most of their species, mate for life. Males are the first to arrive at the breeding grounds in October, and re-claim their nest site which they and their partner might have used for many years. Once the females arrive three weeks later, mating takes place and the birds perform a ritual, re-establishing the pair bond (2). Both birds work to rebuild the nest and take turns to incubate their single egg. If the egg is predated or lost to other natural causes, the birds will not attempt to breed again until the following year. Once the chick hatches, both parents brood it in turn, taking turns to procure food for the youngster. Albatross chicks stay in the nest for a long time; six months in the case of the black-footed, and it may wander away from the nest site when it reaches two or three months old (2). Black-footed albatross feed mainly on squid, fish and crustaceans, but they also take floating offal and carrion (4). The birds are mostly active at night and early in the morning. The spend most of the day sitting on the surface of the ocean in groups (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

Description

One of the smaller members of the family, the black-footed albatross is a uniform dusky brown with a white ring around the base of the bill. There is also white across the upperparts and under the tail. The bill, legs and feet are blackish in colour (4). Like all albatrosses, the wings are long and straight and the birds can glide almost effortlessly a few metres above the surface of the sea (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

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Non-breeding

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Breeding

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Range: (200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Kure east to Kaula) and on Torishima in Seven Islands of Izu (AOU 1998). Began breeding on San Benedicto Island, off the Pacific coast of Mexico, in 2000 (1 pair); apparently also nesting on Guadalupe Island, Mexico (Pitman and Ballance 2002). Formerly on northern Bonin, Volcano, Marianas and Marshall islands and Marcus, Wake and Johnston islands. RANGES: North Pacific south to Baja California, to Aleutians, Bering Sea (AOU 1998).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range Description

Phoebastria nigripes breeds on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (USA), the US Minor Outlying Islands and three outlying islands of Japan, colonies having been lost from other Pacific islands (Whittow 1993, Cousins 1998). In total there are estimated to be 64,500 pairs breeding each year (Flint 2007, Naughton et al. 2007) in at least 14 locations. The largest populations are c.24,000 and 21,000 pairs on Midway Atoll and Laysan Island respectively, which together account for 73% of the global population (Flint 2007, Naughton et al. 2007). On Torishima, 914 chicks were reared from 1,219 pairs in 1998, compared with just 20 in 1964 (Cousins and Cooper 2000). The species disperses widely over the northern Pacific Ocean, particularly to the north-east, towards the coastal waters of North America. There have been occasional records in the southern hemisphere (Carboneras 1992b, Fernandez et al. 2001, Hyrenbach and Dotson 2001, BirdLife International 2004, Hyrenbach et al. 2006, S. Shaffer in litt. 2007).

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

W Hawaiian, Izu, Bonin and s Ryukyu islands.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Geographic Range

The Black-Footed Albatross is a pelagic species which is found all over the North Pacific.

(Palmer, 1962; Reilly, 1968)

Biogeographic Regions: pacific ocean (Native )

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Black-footed albatrosses are birds of the northern Pacific Ocean, ranging from the sub-Artic sea southwards beyond the Hawaiian Islands, west as far as the China Sea and east to the North American coast, extending as far south as Baja California (4). This species once nested on many islands in the northern Pacific Ocean but today breeds only on the Hawaiian archipelago, including the Laysan Islands and Midway Island, and in the western Pacific on three Japanese islands (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

Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

The Black-Footed Albatross is all dark grey except for some white feathers near the bill and on the underside of the tail. There is no seasonal variation in their plumage.

Average length is 27-29 inches with a wingspan of about 7 feet. Males and females are relatively monomorphic, except that the male's beak averages slightly larger. Average body weight is 7-8 pounds. (Palmer, 1962;

Reilly, 1968)

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Size

Length: 81 cm

Weight: 3148 grams

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Pelagic. Frequently follows ships. Nests in sand on oceanic islands. Usually nests in same spot in successive years.

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

breeding on Hawaii
  • UNESCO-IOC Register of Marine Organisms
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

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It breeds on beaches and slopes with little or no vegetation, and on short turf. The species feeds mainly on flying fish eggs, squid, fish and crustaceans (Harrison et al. 1983), but also on fish offal and human refuse (Cousins 1998). During the brooding period, birds at Tern Island forage predominantly within the vicinity of the island. This foraging range expands during the rearing period to include the distant and more productive Californian Current (Hyrenbach et al. 2002).


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

The Black-Footed Albatross prefers vast open water and sandy beaches on islands for breeding.

(Palmer, 1962; Reilly, 1968)

Habitat Regions: saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: pelagic

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Depth range based on 9511 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 7859 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 0
  Temperature range (°C): 2.344 - 27.473
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.004 - 19.712
  Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 35.354
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.515 - 7.933
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.049 - 1.845
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.901 - 37.249

Graphical representation

Temperature range (°C): 2.344 - 27.473

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.004 - 19.712

Salinity (PPS): 30.381 - 35.354

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.515 - 7.933

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.049 - 1.845

Silicate (umol/l): 0.901 - 37.249
 
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

When not at sea, these albatrosses choose bare slopes and coastlines with little vegetation, or with short turf on which to breed (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

Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Seen year-round off the western U.S. coast. Northern-most populations move south during the winter. May migrate 1000s of km between breeding and nonbreeding areas. Usually leaves breeding areas in July, returns October-November (Terres 1980).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Trophic Strategy

Comments: Fishes, sea urchins, amphipods, squids. Forages at night catching food from surface of ocean. Feeds on refuse thrown from ships. Young initially fed regurgitated stomach oil, later mainly squid (Berger 1981).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Food Habits

Black-Footed Albatrosses eat edible refuse of all kinds, and are sometimes called the "feathered pig." Although fond of fatty materials, this species' diet is mainly composed of fish, fish offal, fish eggs, crabs, other crustaceans, squids and galley garbage. (Palmer, 1962; Reilly, 1968)

Primary Diet: carnivore (Piscivore , Eats eggs, Scavenger )

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Ecosystem Roles

The Black-Footed Albatross is one of the waste managers of the ocean. They will eat any edible floating debirs, including garbage and animal matter. (Palmer, 1962; Reilly, 1968)

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Predation

Strangely, the Black-Footed Albatross is attracted to floating objects, including the exposed dorsal fin of sharks. However, they will avoid a swimming human. Furthermore, Black-Footed Albatrosses will not approach ships in Asiatic or Aleutian waters where birds have been treated with cruelty in the past. A main predator of albatross chicks is the Norwegian rat, which eats the eggs and small chicks. Once the chick begins to fly, its main predator is the tiger shark. (Palmer, 1962)

Known Predators:

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Known predators

Phoebastria nigripes is prey of:
Galeocerdo cuvier
Homo sapiens
Rattus norvegicus

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: Breeds on several northwestern Hawaiian Islands, on Torishima in Seven Islands of Izu (AOU 1998), and on San Benedicto and Guadalupe Islands, Mexico (Pitman and Ballance 2002). More than half of the breeding population nests at two sites: Laysan Island and Midway Atoll.

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Global Abundance

100,000 - 1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Estimated at 124,000 individuals (IUCN 2000). The two largest colonies are at Laysan Island and Midway Atoll, Hawaii; in 1998, about 21,415 pairs nested on Laysan Island, and 20,510 pairs nested on Midway Atoll (Robbins and Dowell 2000).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

The mean life-span of the Black-Footed Albatross is thought to be about 36 years.(Palmer, 1962)

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
488 months.

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 40.7 years (wild)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Joao Pedro de Magalhaes

Source: AnAge

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Reproduction

The Black-Footed Albatross selects a mate early in life and remains with that mate until death. (Palmer, 1962).

Mating System: monogamous

Black-Footed Albatrosses are colonial nesters which begin copulating before arriving on their breeding grounds in October through early November. The male arrives about 20 days prior to the female to begin the nest building process and to reclaim their territory from the previous year. Once the female arrives, the pair engages in additional copulation and reinforces the pair-bond by performing the mutual display in which two birds approach and perform a rapid dance. The nest is usually on exposed, sandy beaches with many other pelagic bird species. Nest building is usually contributed to by both male and female and takes only a few hours. This nest is reused in future years. (Palmer, 1962)

When a Black-Footed Albatross hatches, the eyes are open and the nestling is covered with down, which takes about 6 hours to dry. At 2-3 months, the chick may begin to wander away from its parents' territory, but must return to the nest for feedings. The chick permanently leaves the nest at 6 months.

It is thought that Black-Footed Albatrosses do not reproduce until 9 years of age, although a mate may be selected earlier. Once a mate has been chosen, the pair remains together for life. (Palmer, 1962)

Breeding season: October through May

Range eggs per season: 1 to 1.

Range time to hatching: 63 to 67 days.

Range fledging age: 5 to 6 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 8 to 10 years.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8 to 10 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (Internal ); oviparous

The pair typically produces one egg, which the male and female incubate in turn. Once the egg has been laid, aggressive behavior between neighboring pairs increases. If the egg is lost to predation or other natural disaster, no replacement clutch is laid. The pair will wait until the next year to renest. Sometimes, wind storms bury the nest with egg or chick in sand, and the pair is forced to abandon their breeding efforts for that year.

Once the chick hatches, the parents remain at the nest at all times for 15-24 days in rotating shifts. The parent that is not on duty at the nest is responsible for gathering food. (Palmer, 1962; Reilly, 1968)

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 1 person

Average rating: 4.0 of 5

Single egg is laid mid-November to early December on Midway Island. Incubation, in long turns by both sexes, lasts 63-68 days. Young are tended by both sexes. Nestling stage lasts about 140 days. May not breed until 5+ years old. Life-long pair bond. Does not renest if egg is lost.

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Phoebastria nigripes

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


There are 3 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

NNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNTAATTGGAGGATTCGGAAACTGACTAGTACCACTTATAATCGGTGCCCCCGACATAGCATTCCCACGTATAAACAATATAAGCTTCTGACTACTACCCCCGTCCTTCCTCCTCCTGCTAGCATCTTCCACAGTAGAAGCAGGGGCAGGGACAGGATGGACTGTATATCCACCCTTAGCAGGCAACCTTGCCCACGCAGGGGCTTCAGTAGACCTAGCCATCTTCTCCCTCCACCTGGCAGGTGTCTCATCTATCCTGGGGGCAATTAACTTCATCACAACTGCCATCAACATAAAACCTCCAGCCCTTTCACAATACCAAACCCCCCTATTCGTATGATCTGTACTCATCACTGCCGTCCTACTCCTGCTCTCACTCCCAGTCCTTGCTGCCGGCATTACCATACTACTAACAGATCGAAACCTAAACACTACATTCTTCGATCCAGCCGGAGGAGGGGACCCAGTCCTATATCAACACCTCTTCTGATTCTTTGGCCANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN
-- end --

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: Phoebastria nigripes

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 3
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

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3N - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4B - Apparently Secure

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Limited number of breeding occurrences; apparent decline of almost 20 per cent 1995-2000; projected decline of greater than 20 per cent over next 3 generations (60 years).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Flint, B., Gales, R., Gilman, E., Harrison, C., Lewison, R., Misiak, W., Mitchell, L., Nel, D., Nisbet, I., Phillips, R., Rivera, K. & Shaffer, S.

Justification
This species has been downlisted from Vulnerable as analysis of recent data suggests that its population is not undergoing rapid on-going declines and is either stable or increasing. However, modelling of the likely effects of mortality caused by longline fishing fleets, combined with potential losses to breeding colonies from sea-level rise and storm surges, suggests it is appropriate to precautionarily predict a moderately rapid population decline over the next three generations (56 years), hence its classification as Near Threatened rather than Least Concern.


History
  • 2012
    Vulnerable
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

In 1996, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council and the US Fish and Wildlife Service held a workshop for fishermen. The workshop taught techniques and told of inexpensive equipment to use to limit the catch of albatrosses. According to the USFWS, 2,000 Black-Footed Albatrosses are killed each year by fishermen's lines. Considering the fact that albatrosses reach sexual maturity at such a late age, this loss can have a substantial impact on the species. (Tummons, 1996)

US Migratory Bird Act: protected

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: no special status

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

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1). Listed under Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (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

Global Short Term Trend: Decline of 10-50%

Comments: There was an apparent 19% decline 1995-2000, and the World Conservation Union projects a greater than 20% decline over the next three generations (60 years; IUCN 2000).

Global Long Term Trend: Increase of 10-25% to decline of 30%

Comments: Populations probably were fairly stable in northwestern Hawaii in the early 1980s (Harrison et al. 1984), and trend data for at least the early 1990s also suggested stability (IUCN 2000).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Population

Population
Counts in the 2006-2007 breeding season produced population estimates of 64,500 pairs, equivalent to 129,000 breeding individuals (Flint 2007). This estimate is based on standardised surveys at Midway Atoll, Laysan Island and French Frigate Shoals in 2006 (551,940 pairs; 25,780 95% CI; Flint 2007). These three colonies support 90% of the global breeding population. Estimates for the other colonies are the most recent available (1982-2006). There are c.23 pairs breeding on the Bonin Islands in Japan, and c.400 pairs on islands offshore from Mexico (primarily Isla Guadalupe, 337 pairs estimated in 2005; Hyrenbach and Dotson 2003).

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

Degree of Threat: High

Comments: Historically (until 1992) threatened by mortality from squid fishing and drift-nets. Currently, at least 3000 individuals estimated to die annually because of interactions with longline fisheries, perhaps many more (IUCN 2000). Other threats include pollution, introduced predators, oiling, ingestion of plastics, and the possibility of volcanic eruption on Torishima (IUCN 2000).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Major Threats
Its populations declined significantly owing to feather and egg collecting in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but then recovered during the first half of the twentieth century. Between 1978 and 1992, the population experienced elevated mortality from interactions with high seas drift-nets in the North Pacific (Johnson et al. 1993). Bycatch estimates from driftnets put yearly bycatch (at least in 1990) at c.4,000 birds per year. Currently, the species interacts with longline fisheries in the North Pacific. In 2003, mortality was estimated to be at least 2,000 birds per year in U.S.-based fisheries and a further 6,000 in Japanese/Taiwanese fleets (Lewison and Crowder 2003). Recent estimates indicate a significant reduction in U.S. longline bycatch from previous years that is very likely attributable to the use of effective seabird avoidance measures, with an average of 130 birds killed per year in longline fisheries in Alaska and Hawaii between 2004 and 2006 (K. Rivera in litt. 2007). Bycatch rates in the Japanese and Taiwanese longline fleets are still largely unknown. However, studies on this species have confirmed the impact of fisheries bycatch on survival (Verán et al. 2007) and the annual population growth rate (Niel and Lebreton 2005). Satellite tracking studies show that post-breeding birds disperse over large distances to the oceanographic 'transition zone' where they are susceptible to bycatch in the U.S. and foreign pelagic longline fleets (Hyrenbach and Dotson 2003; BirdLife International 2004; Hyrenbach et al. 2006). Within this area, tracking revealed that fishing effort was heavy in the habitats utilised by the species, and that there may be a male bias in the individuals affected by bycatch.

Storm waves and sea-level rise may represent significant future threats, since the vast majority of the world population nests on islands below 10 m above sea-level. Recent models that consider dynamic wave action predict greater losses than anticipated of nesting habitat at lower values of predicted sea-level rise for several important breeding islands (Storlazzi et al. 2013). These more realistic models, in concert with accelerating sea-level rise, suggest the possibility of repeated catastrophic reproductive failure in the future caused by the loss of nest sites.

Other threats include pollution (including organochlorines and heavy metals) (Jones et al. 1996, Auman et al. 1997; Finkelstein et al. 2007), introduced predators such as the Polynesian rat Rattus exulans (Hasegawa 1984, Jones et al. 2008), plastic ingestion (though this may not affect chick growth rate; I. C. T. Nisbet in litt. 2010) and volcanic eruption on Torishima (Harrison 1990). Oil pollution is no longer considered a likely threat (I. C. T. Nisbet in litt. 2010).

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

The black-footed, like many other albatrosses, is currently under threat from by-catch in the long-line fishing industry; as many as 2,000 birds a year are thought to be lost from fishing vessels operating out of the USA, and as many as 6,000 from Japanese fisheries. Until a decade ago, most bird losses involving this species came from squid fishing and drift nets (5). They are also at risk from increasing marine pollution, swallowing waste plastics, storm damage to their nests and chicks and possible volcanic eruption on the island of Torishima (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

Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
All Hawaiian breeding localities are part of the US National Wildlife Refuge system or State of Hawaii Seabird Sanctuaries. In 1991, a 50 Nautical Mile Protected Species Zone was established around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. No longline fishing is allowed in this zone. In 2006, the Papahânaumokuâkea Marine National Monument was established. Nearly 80% of the breeding population is counted directly or sampled every year. All sites except one have been surveyed since 1991 (Croxall and Gales 1998). Hawaiian longline fishing vessels are required to use a range of measures to reduce seabird bycatch. In December 2006, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission passed a measure to require large tuna and swordfish longline vessels to use at least two seabird bycatch mitigation measures when fishing north of 23 degrees North. The FVOA which represents the longlining captains in the halibut and sablefish fisheries along the US West Coast has instructed its members to use streamer lines when fishing in Washington, Oregan and Californian waters.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring population trends and demographic parameters. Continue satellite-tracking studies to assess temporal and spatial overlap with longline fisheries. Adopt best-practice mitigation measures in longline fisheries within the species's range. Re-evaluate the location of the current boundary (23o N) for required use of seabird mitigation measures in the U.S. pelagic longline fisheries (Hyrenbach and Dotson 2003).

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

Currently, the world population of this albatross is estimated to be around 109,000 breeding birds (278,000 in total). Three-quarters of the breeding population nests on the Hawaiian Islands, where there has been nearly a ten percent decline in numbers over the nine years from 1992 to 2001 (5). Projected figures, (using estimated bird losses through fishing by-catch) predict a 60 percent reduction in the global population over the next three generations (6). Whilst all the Hawaiian breeding sites are protected within the US National Wildlife Refuge system, or within the State of Hawaii Seabird Sanctuaries, there is still a need to tackle the bird losses through long-line fishing. In 1991, a 50 Nautical Mile Protected Species Zone was established around the north-western Hawaiian Islands and no long-line fishing is permitted within this area. Elsewhere, satellite tracking of the birds and regular site surveys continue in order to monitor the status of this species, and efforts are being made to encourage fisheries to adopt methods which will reduce the losses through by-catch (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

Wikipedia

Black-footed albatross

The black-footed albatross (Phoebastria nigripes) is a large seabird of the albatross family Diomedeidae from the North Pacific. All but 2.5% of the population is found among the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. It is one of three species of albatross that range in the northern hemisphere, nesting on isolated tropical islands. Unlike many albatrosses, it is dark plumaged.

Taxonomy[edit]

Black-footed albatrosses are a type of albatross that belong to Diomedeidae family and come from the Procellariiformes order, along with shearwaters, fulmars, storm petrels, and diving petrels. They share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. Although the nostrils on the albatross are on the sides of the bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between seven and nine horny plates. Finally, they produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used both against predators and as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.[4] They also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage that helps desalinate their bodies, to compensate for the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a high saline solution from their nose.[5]

The specific epithet of nigripes is derived from two Latin words, niger meaning "black", and pes meaning "foot".[6]

Description[edit]

The black-footed albatross is a small member of the albatross family (while still large compared to most other seabirds) that has almost all black plumage. Some adults show white undertail coverts, and all adults have white markings around the base of the beak and below the eye. As the birds age they acquire more white at the base of the beak.[7][8] Its beak and feet are also all dark. They have only the one plumage.[7][9] They measure 68–74 cm (27–29 in),[10] have a wingspan of 190–220 cm (6.2–7.2 ft),[8][11][12] and weigh 2.6–4.3 kg (5.7–9.5 lb).[13] Males, at an average weight of 3.4 kg (7.5 lb) are larger than females, at an average of 3 kg (6.6 lb).[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The black-footed albatross, along with the laysan albatross and the rare short-tailed albatross, are the three species of albatross that range in the northern hemisphere, as opposed to the rest of the family which range from the Equator south. There are at least 12 known breeding locations, but 97.5% of the total population is found colonially on the isolated Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, from Kure Atoll to Kaula Island,[3] (such as Laysan, Midway, and the French Frigate Shoals). Small populations can be found on the Japanese islands of Tori Shima, Bonin, and Senkaku, and off the Mexican coast, primarily on Isla Guadalupe.[14] They are extirpated from the Iwo Jima, Agrihan, Taongi Atoll, Marcus Island, Wake Island, and Johnston Island.[3] Their range at sea varies during the seasons (straying farther from the breeding islands when the chicks are older or they don't have chicks) but they make use of great areas of the North Pacific, feeding from Alaska to California and Japan; however they do prefer the northeastern Pacific Ocean.[14] They overlap greatly in breeding and feeding range with the other two species of northern albatross, although the other two will range further north into the Bering Sea than the Black-footed will. They have, on occasion, been sighted in the southern hemisphere.[14]

Behavior[edit]

Their vocalization will range from shrieks and squeals whilst fighting over food to bill-clapping, whistles, groans,[9] and quacks while courting.[8]

Breeding[edit]

The black-footed albatross, like the rest of its family, forms long term pair-bonds that last for life. After fledging the birds return to the colony after three years, and spend two years building nests, dancing and being with prospective mates, a behaviour that probably evolved to ensure maximum trust between the birds (raising an albatross chick is a massive energetic investment, and a long courting period establishes for both birds that the other is committed). They will start reproducing after about seven years.[8]

Nests are simple depressions scraped in the sand,[14] into which one dull white with reddish brown spots egg is laid.[8][9] The egg is incubated for just over two months (65 days). Both birds incubate the egg, the male incubating more as the female leaves soon after hatching to recoup reserves used for egg-laying. The average time spent on incubating shifts is 18 days. However, mates can wait up to 38 days to be relieved, and if something happens to the mate the other has been recorded incubating for 49 days without food or water.

The chick is brooded for 20 days by its parents, after which both parents leave the nest and return to feed the chick. The chick is fed regurgitated food by sticking its bill inside that of its parent. Fledging occurs after 140 days.

Feeding[edit]

The black-footed albatross feeds in pelagic waters, taking the eggs of flying fish, squid and to a lesser extent crustaceans. It will also consume floating debris, including plastics.[8][14]

Conservation[edit]

Breeding population and trends[14]
Breeding locationBreeding pairsTrend
Midway Atoll24,000-9.6% from 1992 to 2001
Laysan Island21,000-9.6% from 1992 to 2001
French Frigate Shoals17,895-9.6% from 1992 to 2001
Torishima1,218Unknown
Bonin Islands23Unknown
Islas Guadalupe337Unknown
Other offshore Mexican islands63unknown
Total64,500-60% over 56 years

The black-footed albatross is considered vulnerable by the IUCN,[1] because it is taken incidentally by longline fishing. An estimated 4,000 are taken every year, based on the number taken in 1990; other estimates put the number at 8,000,[14] although more recent numbers are at around 6,150 per year with the majority of deaths from Taiwanese and Japanese fishing fleets. It is also vulnerable to oil and ingestion of floating plastics, which reduces the space in the stomach available for food to be brought to the chick. Finally volcanic eruptions on Torishima continues to be a threat.

The black-footed albatross has an occurrence range of 37,600,000 km2 (14,500,000 sq mi) and a breeding range of 28 km2 (11 sq mi), with a population of 129,000 adult birds. Of these birds 24,000 pairs breed on Midway Atoll and 21,000 pairs breed on Laysan Island. Torishima has 1,218 pairs, the Bonin Islands have 23 pairs and there are about 400 pairs on offshore Mexican islands with 337 on Islas Guadalupe. All of these numbers come from estimates from 2005 to 2007.[14]

All of its nesting sites in the U.S. are protected, along with a 50 nmi (93 km) buffer zone around these islands. Within this buffer zone longline fishing is outlawed. Almost 80% of the breeding population is counted or sampled each year and most fisheries utilize seabird bycatch prevention measures.[14]

Gallery[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2013). "Phoebastria nigripes". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Brands, S. (2008)
  3. ^ a b c American Ornithologists' Union (1998)
  4. ^ Double, M. C. (2003)
  5. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
  6. ^ Gotch, A. F. (1995)
  7. ^ a b c Floyd, Ted (2008)
  8. ^ a b c d e f Udvarty, M. D. (1994)
  9. ^ a b c Peterson, R. T. (1961)
  10. ^ del Hoyo, J. Elliott, A. and Sargatal, J. Handbook of the Birds of the World Lynx Edicions, Barcelona
  11. ^ Dunn, J. L. & Alderfer, J. (2006)
  12. ^ [1] (2011)
  13. ^ Brooke, Michael, Albatrosses and Petrels across the World (Bird Families of the World). Oxford University Press (2004), ISBN 978-0-19-850125-1
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i BirdLife International (2008)

References[edit]

  • American Ornithologists' Union (1998) [1983]. "Procellariiformes: Diomedeidae: Albatrosses" (PDF). Check-list of North American Birds (7th ed.). Washington, D.C.: American Ornithologists' Union . pp. 11–12 . ISBN 1-891276-00-X. 
  • BirdLife International (2008). "Black-footed Albatross - BirdLife Species Factsheet". Data Zone. Retrieved 10 Mar 2009. 
  • Brands, Sheila (August 14, 2008). "Systema Naturae 2000 / Classification - Diomedea subg. Phoebastria -". Project: The Taxonomicon. Retrieved 22 Feb 2009. 
  • Double, M. C. (2003). "Procellariiformes (Tubenosed Seabirds)". In Hutchins, Michael; Jackson, Jerome A.; Bock, Walter J. et al. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 8 Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator (2 ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. pp. 107–111. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0. 
  • Dunn, Jon L.; Alderfer, Jonathan (2006). "Albatrosses". In Levitt, Barbara. National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America (fifth ed.). Washington D.C.: National Geographic Society. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-7922-5314-3. 
  • Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dobkin, David, S.; Wheye, Darryl (1988). The Birders Handbook (First ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. pp. 29–31. ISBN 0-671-65989-8. 
  • Floyd, Ted (2008). "Tubenoses: Albatrosses, Shearwaters & Petrels, and Storm-petrels". In Hess, Paul; Scott, George. Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America (First ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-06-112040-4. 
  • Gotch, A. F. (1995) [1979]. "Albatrosses, Fulmars, Shearwaters, and Petrels". Latin Names Explained A Guide to the Scientific Classifications of Reptiles, Birds & Mammals. New York, NY: Facts on File. p. 191. ISBN 0-8160-3377-3. 
  • Peterson, Roger T. (1961) [1941]. "Albatrosses :Diomedeidae". A Field Guide to Western Birds. Peterson Field Guide 2 (Second ed.). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-395-13692-8. 
  • Udvarty, Miklos, D. F.; Farrand Jr., John (1977). Locke, Edie, ed. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds. National Audubon Field Guide Series. Birds (Western Region) (First ed.). New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 357–358. ISBN 0-679-42851-8. 
  • Whittow, G. Causey. 1993. Black-footed Albatross (Diomedea nigripes). In The Birds of North America, No. 65 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists’ Union.
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

Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Formerly in genus Diomedea; transferred to Phoebastria by AOU (1997). Occasional hybrids between P. nigripes and P. immutabilis are reported from the Hawaiian Islands (Midway) (AOU 1983).

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

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

Trusted

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!