Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Salvin's albatross is thought to breed annually, with adults returning to their breeding colonies in September, where nests are densely constructed in close proximity (one nest per 1.9m²). Eggs are laid in early October and begin to hatch in early to mid-November, with the chicks fledging the following spring in late March to early April (4). Breeding adults forage over the shelf waters around the colonies (4), and feed mainly on fish and squid (2).
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Description

This medium-sized, black-and-white albatross (2) has only recently been considered a distinct species and separate from the shy albatross (Thalassarche cauta) (3). Adults have a pale grey head, throat and upper mantle, paler on the crown, and a dark grey to black back, upperwing and tail. In contrast, the rump and underparts are snowy-white except for a narrow dark border to the underwing and a distinctive black 'thumbmark' at the base of the underwing's leading edge. The legs, feet and beak are an inconspicuous pale grey, with a pale yellow upper ridge to the upper bill and a dark spot at the tip of the lower bill (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Thalassarche salvini breeds on the Bounty Islands (nine islands and islets), Western Chain islets (Snares Islands), and The Pyramid and The Forty-Fours (Chatham Islands), New Zealand (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000, Miskelly et al. 2006) and has bred at least once on Ile des Pingouins (Crozet Islands, French Southern Territories), with four pairs recorded (Jouventin 1990, Brooke 2004). In 1998, the population on the Bounty Islands (99% of total) was estimated at 30,750 pairs (Clark et al. 1998, A. M. Booth in litt. 1999), compared to an estimate in 1978 of 76,000 breeding pairs (Robertson and van Tets 1982). Both estimates were based on counts on Proclamation Island and aerial photographs of all other islands (Robertson and van Tets 1982, Clark et al. 1998), but census methods differed, making comparisons difficult. In 1984, the population on the Snares Islands was estimated at less than 650 pairs. More recently, the population on the Snares Islands increased to 1,111 pairs, with 829 pairs counted on Toru in 2011 and 282 on Rima in 2010 (Sagar et al. 2011). In 1995, two nests on The Pyramid were occupied, and single chicks were observed at The Pyramid in 2006, and the Forty-Fours in 2007 (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). It ranges widely through the south Pacific (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000) and large numbers of birds are found along the Peru Current (Taylor 2000). Recent incidental observations have recorded this species in the Cape Horn region (Arata 2003) and off Argentina (Seco Pon et al. 2007). One of the individuals nesting on the Crozet Islands had previously been caught and ringed on South Georgia, in 1982, and returned for several years thereafter. These observations indicate that the species has a more extensive range than previously thought, although the core range is believed to be between Australasia and the west coast of South America (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). A vagrant was recorded on Midway Atoll (Robertson et al. 2005). A count on Proclamation Island in November 2004 recorded 2,634 nests, which may indicate a 14% drop since the 1998 estimate (Arata 2003); however, this island represents only one of the 20 in the Bounty Island group, and further information is needed (including information on the comparability of estimates) before a population trend can be estimated. It is thought that the Snares Island population may have been stable between 1984 and 2009 (ACAP 2009). The overall population trend is therefore uncertain.

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Range

Crozet, Snares and Bounty islands.

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Range

Breeding occurs on nine islands and islets in the Bounty Islands (99% of total), Western Chain in the Snares Islands, and possibly The Pyramid in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. The species has also bred at least once on Ile des Pingouins (Crozet Islands, French Southern Territories). Non-breeding birds range widely through the south Pacific, with large numbers found along the Peru Current (2). Scarce in the southern Indian Ocean (2), and only a rare visitor to the South Atlantic (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour It is a colonial, annual-breeding species. Eggs are laid from August to September, hatching begins in the third week of October and chicks probably fledge in March-April (ACAP 2009). Habitat Breeding It breeds mostly on small, bare rocky islands (Croxall and Gales 1998). The nest is a muddy pedestal made of dried mud, feathers and some bird bones (Robertson and van Tets 1982). Diet It feeds mainly on cephalopods and fish (Marchant and Higgins 1990).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Breeds on just a few small barren and rocky islands, and otherwise occupies the open oceans (2) (3).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D2

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Booth, A., McClellan, R., Molloy, J., Robertson, C., Stahl, J.-C., Taylor, G. & Walker, K.

Justification
This species may have undergone a rapid decline, but different census methods make a comparison of the available data potentially misleading. However, breeding is largely restricted to one tiny island group, where it is susceptible to stochastic events. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1) and listed on Annex 1 of ACAP (2).
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Population

Population
Clark et al. (1998) estimated 30,750 breeding pairs on the Bounty Islands, which represents 99% of the global population; this is equivalent to 61,500 mature individuals, or roughly 90,000 total individuals.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
No introduced predators are present on the islands, but they are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Small numbers are caught on tuna longliners in New Zealand waters, but it may also be exposed to longline operations elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. Trawlers within New Zealand waters are currently estimated to kill more Salvin's Albatross than longliners (Baird and Smith 2007). From 1996-2005, 247 were returned from fisheries observers with 150 from longliners and 197 from trawl fisheries. Salvin's Albatross constituted approximately 15% of all albatrosses returned by New Zealand fisheries observers 1996-2005 (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). Limited data indicates that T. salvini are also killed by the pelagic longline swordfish Xiphias gladius fishery operating off the coast of Chile, with most birds seen off South America being adults (ACAP 2009). The species is also potentially threatened by climate change because it has a bounded distribution: it is restricted to islands with a maximum altitude of 340 m (Birdlife International unpublished data).

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The islands on which Salvin's albatross occurs are fortunately free from introduced predators, but are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Albatrosses are notoriously susceptible to becoming entangled in fishing equipment whilst feeding on baited hooks or catch. Small numbers are known to be killed by tuna longliners in New Zealand waters, but this bird may also be exposed to longline operations elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. Gradual ocean warming as a result of global warming and climate change could pose a potential threat in the future, through impacting food availability for the birds (2).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
ACAP Annex 1. In 1985, 1,000 fledglings were banded (Croxall and Gales 1998), but only one has been recovered (G. A. Taylor in litt. 2000). In 1995/1996, a long-term population study was initiated on the Snares population (Taylor 2000). All islands are nature reserves, except for The Pyramid and The Forty-Fours, which are privately owned. In 1998, the Snares and Bounty Islands were declared part of a World Heritage Site. In 2006, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) adopted a measure which will require all tuna and swordfish longline vessels to use at least two seabird bycatch mitigation measures when fishing south of 30 degrees South.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Census all the Bounty Islands intensively for baseline population estimates. Census two islands in the Bounty and Snares Islands for two consecutive years at 10-year intervals. Obtain information from South African and South American observer programmes on bycatch levels. Further develop mitigation devices/techniques to minimise fisheries bycatch in trawl and pelagic longline fisheries. Remote tracking data is required for both breeding and non-breeding birds to further understand the level of interaction with longline and trawl fishing fleets (BirdLife International 2004).

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Conservation

All the islands on which Salvin's albatross occurs are nature reserves, with the exception of The Pyramid, which is privately owned. In 1998, the Snares and Bounty Islands were declared part of a World Heritage Site (2).
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Wikipedia

Salvin's albatross

Salvin's albatross, or Salvin's mollymawk, Thalassarche salvini, is a large seabird that ranges across the Southern Ocean. A medium sized mollymawk in the albatross family, it was long considered to be a subspecies of the shy albatross. It is a medium sized black and white albatross.

Taxonomy[edit]

Mollymawks are a type of albatross that belong to the family Diomedeidae in the order Procellariiformes, 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, unlike other tubenosed seabirds. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between seven and nine horny plates. They produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.[3] Finally, they 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 high saline solution from their nose.[4]

The Salvin's albatross, white-capped albatross, shy albatross and Chatham albatross were all considered the same species until a 1998 book by Robertson and Nunn.[5] Other experts followed suit, with BirdLife International in 2000,[6] Brooke in 2004,[7] ACAP in 2006,[8] and SACC in 2008.[9][10][11] Some, however, like James Clements (at the time of his death) didn't agree, nor has Cornell University since (which is responsible for his book).[12] Molecular analysis has shown that it and the closely related Chatham albatross (also considered to be a subspecies of the shy albatross) are sister taxa, and more distantly related to the shy.

Etymology[edit]

The species was named by Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild for the distinguished ornithologist Osbert Salvin.

Description[edit]

In flight

The Salvin's albatross is about 90 cm (35 in) and 2.56 m (8.4 ft) across the wings. It weighs 3.3–4.9 kg (7.3–10.8 lb) and is, alongside the shy albatross, the largest of the mollymawk or small albatross group.[13] The adult bird has a silver-grey crown. Its face, upper throat, and upper mantle are grey, and its back, upperwing, and tail are grey-black. It has a white rump and underparts with a black thumbmark on underwing and black narrow leading and trailing edges on the wing and black wing tips. Its bill is pale grey-green with a pale yellow upper ridge, and a bright yellow tip on the upper mandible, and a dark spot on the tip of the lower mandible. The juveniles have more extensive grey areas and a blue-grey bill with black tips on both mandibles.[6] It can be distinguished from the Chatham albatross by its larger size and grey bill, and from the shy albatross by the greyer head. Such differences can be difficult to pick out at sea, however, and this explains the under-representation of this species in at-sea surveys.

Behavior[edit]

Feeding[edit]

Salvin's albatross feeds mainly on fish and cephalopods.[14]

Reproduction[edit]

Breeding Population and Trends[6]
LocationPopulationDateTrend
Bounty Islands30,750 pairs1998Possibly declining
Western Chain Islets, Snares Islands< 650 pairs1984
The Pyramid, Chatham Islands2 pairs2006
Forty-Fours1+ pairs2007
Île des Pingouins, Crozet Islands1—4 pairs2002
Total62,0001998Possibly declining

It breeds mainly on small rocky islands with little vegetation,[15] and the nest is a pedestal made of mud, feathers, and bird bones.[16] A single egg is laid in September, and incubated by both parents until early November. The chicks fledge after about 4 months.

Range and habitat[edit]

The Salvin's albatross breed colonially on three disparate island groups in the Southern Ocean, Île des Pingouins in the Crozet Islands in the Indian Ocean[7][17] and the Bounty Islands and The Snares to the south of New Zealand, The Pyramid, and Forty-Fours Island.[15][18][19] At sea they range from South Africa across to Australia and as far east as the coast of South America. In April 2011, several photographs of a Salvin's or Chatham Island albatross were taken about 800 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands.

Conservation[edit]

The IUCN classifies this species as vulnerable[1] with longline fisheries and trawlers responsible for small amounts of deaths, although trawlers are responsible for more than half of those killed.[20] The world population is currently estimated to be around 61,500 birds in 1998,[21][22] which suggests a decline in the species since earlier studies (although differences in methods make direct comparisons difficult). There are 30,750 pairs, in 1998, on the Bounty Islands, compared to 76,000 pairs in 1978.[16] There were 650 pairs on the Snares Islands, and 4 pairs were recorded on Île des Pingouins in the Crozet Islands.[7][17] Single chicks have been observed on The Pyramid and Forty-fours Island in 2007.[23]

Bird banding[15] and studies[18] are underway, and all of the islands except for The Pyramid, and Forty-fours Island, which are privately owned, are nature preserves. In 1998, the Snares Islands and Bounty Islands were declared World Heritage Sites, and in 2006, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission adopted a measure to require bird bycatch mitigation measures south of 30°S.[6]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Thalassarche salvini". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Brands, S. (2008)
  3. ^ Double, M. C. (2003)
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
  5. ^ Robertson, C. J. R. & Nunn, G. B. (1998)
  6. ^ a b c d BirdLife International (2008)
  7. ^ a b c Brooke, M. (2004)
  8. ^ ACAP (2007)
  9. ^ Remsen Jr., J. V. (2004)
  10. ^ Remsen Jr., J. V. (2005)
  11. ^ Remsen Jr., J. V. (2008)
  12. ^ Clements, J. (2007)
  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. ^ Marchant, S. & Higgins, P. J. (1990)
  15. ^ a b c Croxall, J. P. & Gales, R. (1998)
  16. ^ a b Robertson, C. J. R. & van Tets (1982)
  17. ^ a b Jouventin, P. (1990)
  18. ^ a b Taylor, G. A. (2000)
  19. ^ Miskelly, C. M., et al. (2006)
  20. ^ Baird, S. J. & Smith, M. H. (2007)
  21. ^ Booth, A. M. (1999)
  22. ^ Clark, G., et al. (1998)
  23. ^ Robertson, C. J. R. (2008)

References[edit]

  • ACAP (2007). "ACAP species". ACAP. Retrieved 22 Feb 2009. [dead link]
  • Baird, S. J.; Smith, M. H. (2007). "Incidental capture of seabirds species in commercial fisheries in New Zealand waters, 2003-2004 and 2004-2005". New Zealand Aquatic Environment and Biodiversity Report (9). 
  • BirdLife International (2008). "Salvin's Albatross - BirdLife Species Factsheet". Data Zone. Retrieved 22 Feb 2009. 
  • Booth, A. M. (1999) in litt
  • Brands, Sheila (August 14, 2008). "Systema Naturae 2000 / Classification - Subfamily Diomedeinae". Project: The Taxonomicon. Retrieved 22 Feb 2009. 
  • Brooke, M. (2004). "Procellariidae". Albatrosses And Petrels Across The World. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850125-0. 
  • Clark, G.; Booth, A. M.; Amey, J. (1998). Unpublished report (Invercargill, N.Z: NZ Department of Conservation). 
  • Clements, James (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World (6 ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9. 
  • Croxall, J. P.; Gales, R. (1998). "Assessment of the conservation status of albatrosses". In Robertson, G.; Gales, R. Albatross biology and conservation. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty & Sons. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Jouventin, P. (1990). "Shy Albatrosses Diomedea cauta salvini breeding on Penguin Island, Crozet Archipelago, Indian Ocean". Ibis (132): 126–127. 
  • Marchant, S.; Higgins, P. J. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, 1: ratites to ducks. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-553068-1. 
  • Miskelly, C. M.; Bester, A. J.; Bell, M. (2006). "Additions to the Chatham Islands’ bird list, with further records of vagrant and colonising bird species". Notornis (53): 215–230. 
  • Remsen Jr., J. V.; et al. (December 2004). "Proposal #155 to South American Check-list Committee: Split Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta into two or three species". South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 18 Feb 2009. 
  • Remsen Jr., J. V.; et al. (February 2005). "Proposal (#166) to South American Classification Committee: Re-lump Thalassarche eremita and Thalassarche salvini with Thalassarche cauta". South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 18 Feb 2009. 
  • Remsen Jr., J. V.; et al. (28 Feb 2008). "Proposal (#255) to South American Classification Committee : Follow-up to Proposal 155: Split Thalassarche cauta into three species". South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 18 Feb 2009. 
  • Robertson, C. J. R.; Nunn, G. B. (1998). "Towards a new taxonomy for albatrosses". In Robertson, G.; Gales, R. Albatross biology and conservation. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty & Sons. pp. 13–19. 
  • Robertson, C. J. R. (2008) in litt
  • Robertson, C. J. R.; van Tets, G. F. (1982). "The status of birds at the Bounty Islands". Notornis (29): 311–336. 
  • Taylor, G. A. (2000). "Action plan for seabird conservation in New Zealand. Wellington: Department of Conservation". Threatened Species Occasional Publication (16). 
  • Tickell, W.L.N. (2000). Albatrosses Sussex:Pica press, ISBN 1-873403-94-1
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