|Scientific Name:||Thalassarche melanophrys|
|Species Authority:||(Temminck, 1828)|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Diomedea melanophris (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into melanophrys and impavida and both placed in the genus Thalassarche following Robertson and Nunn (1998) and Brooke (2004).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Endangered A4bd ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.|
|Contributor/s:||Arata, J., Croxall, J., Huin, N., Misiak, W., Phillips, R. & Robertson, G.|
This species is listed as Endangered because it is estimated to be declining at a very rapid rate over three generations (65 years) on the basis of current rates of decline at the large breeding colonies in the south-west Atlantic. These declines have been attributed to the impact of incidental mortality in longline and trawl fisheries.
Thalassarche melanophrys has a circumpolar distribution ranging from subtropical to polar waters (ACAP 2009), breeding in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Islas Diego Ramirez, Ildefonso, Diego de Almagro and Isla Evangelistas (Chile), South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (French Southern Territories), Heard and McDonald Islands and Macquarie Island (Australia), and Campbell and Antipodes Islands, New Zealand (Croxall and Gales 1998). Two breeding sites are also found in southern Chile on islets in Tierra del Fuego and in the Mallaganes region (ACAP 2009). One colony was also recorded on Snares Island in 1986 (ACAP 2009). The total breeding population was estimated at c.680,000 pairs in 1998, 80% at the Falkland Islands, 10% at South Georgia and 3% in Chile (Croxall and Gales 1998). More recent data revised this to c.575,151 pairs, 70% in the Falkland Islands, 10% at South Georgia and 20% in Chile. Numbers in the Falklands apparently increased substantially during the 1980s, but have since declined at 0.7% per annum (Huin and Reid 2007); though some colonies have increased in size, the trends are not consistent between years and sites, and even between sub-colonies within the sites. In addition, some colonies surveyed using aerial photography have reportedly shown increases between 21 and 141%. The small population on Heard Island (c.600 pairs) appears to have increased over the past 50 years. Trends are still uncertain for the populations in Chile. Adult survival on South Georgia decreased from 93% pre-1970 to 89% in 1987, and breeding success also decreased over the same period (from 36% to 18%) (Croxall 2008). Very rapid ongoing declines are suspected overall.
Native:Angola (Angola); Antarctica; Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); French Southern Territories (the); Heard Island and McDonald Islands; Namibia; New Zealand; Peru; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Uruguay
Present - origin uncertain:Bouvet Island; Ecuador; French Polynesia; Madagascar; Mozambique; Norfolk Island; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The total population of 593,447 breeding pairs (equating to 1.15 million mature individuals) is made up of 399,416 pairs in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) (Huin and Reid 2007), 74,296 pairs in South Georgia (Poncet et al. 2006) 114,608 pairs in Chile and other populations (Antipodes, Campbell, Heard and MacDonald, Crozet, Kerguelen, Macquarie, Snares) (Gales 1998). If an assumption is made that the South Georgia population is declining at the same rate as the colony on Bird Island (c.4% pa) then the population there may have declined to c.56,000 pairs by 2012.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Behaviour This is a colonial, annually breeding species, although only 75% of successful breeders and 67% of failed breeders breed the following year. Individuals arrive at colonies in September, laying in early October with chicks hatching in December and fledging between April and May. Immature birds begin to return to land at the age of two with the numbers of returning birds increasing up to the age of six. The median age of first breeding is 10 years (range 8-13) (ACAP 2009). During incubation, breeding birds tend to remain in areas adjacent to or to the north of their colonies in the shelf, shelf-break and shelf-slope waters (ACAP 2009). At Campbell Island, Black-browed Albatross show a unique bimodal foraging strategy, alternating between short trips to shelf areas around the breeding site and long trips to the Polar Front (Waugh et al. 1999). Birds foraging over the Benguela Current during the winter also showed a bimodal feeding strategy, alternating trips over deep, oceanic waters with trips over the continental shelf (Petersen et al. 2008). During incubation on the Falkland Islands, satellite tracking reveals males and females forage in different areas with almost no overlap (Phillips et al. 2004). After breeding, birds from the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) winter on the Patagonian Shelf (N. Huin in litt 2008), whereas birds from South Georgia predominantly migrate to South African waters, spending the first half of the winter in the highly productive Benguela Current (Phillips et al. 2005). Black-browed Albatross from Chile make use of the Chilean Shelf, the Patagonian Shelf, and some spend the non-breeding season around north New Zealand. Habitat Breeding The species nests colonially on steep slopes with tussock grass, sometimes on cliff terraces, but the largest colonies in the Falklands are on flat ground along the shore line. Diet It feeds mainly on crustaceans, fish and squid, and also on carrion and fishery discards (Cherel et al. 2002, Arata et al. 2003, Xavier et al. 2003). A Wilson’s Storm-petrel was recorded in the stomach contents of a bycaught individual on the Patagonian Shelf (Seco Pon and Gandini 2008), and while various Sphenisciformes and Procellariiformes have been found in the stomachs of albatrosses, penguins tend to be recorded more frequently, although none are typical prey items (Seco Pon and Gandini 2008). The exact composition of its diet varies depending on locality and year (ACAP 2009). Foraging Range During chick-rearing, breeding T. melanophrys initially stay in shelf to shelf-slope areas very close to their colonies (within c. 500 km). Later, birds from Chile and South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur) may also travel up to c. 3,000 km from their breeding sites, especially to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Orkney Islands, but birds from the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and Kerguelen continue to remain close to their colonies (ACAP 2009).|
|Major Threat(s):||Declines may be attributable to increased longline fishing effort and/or the development of new longline fisheries over much of the Patagonian Shelf, around South Georgia, off the southern African coast, and in the Southern Ocean (Tuck and Polacheck 1997, Prince et al. 1998, Schiavini et al. 1998, Stagi et al. 1998). Indeed, it is one of the most frequently killed species in many longline fisheries including tuna longliners off southern Africa, the pelagic longline swordfish fishery off Chile and Argentine longliners targeting toothfish and kingclip on the Patagonian shelf (Murray et al. 1993, Gales et al. 1998, Ryan and Boix-Hinzen 1998, Schiavini et al. 1998, Stagi et al. 1998, Ryan et al. 2002 Reid and Sullivan 2004, Bugoni et al. 2008). Capture rates can vary greatly according to season, number of hooks and type of longline (Bugoni et al. 2008). Over recent years, mortality in trawl fisheries has been identified as a major source of mortality for this species over the Patagonian Shelf (Sullivan and Reid 2002) and South Africa (Watkins et al. 2007), with an estimated minimum 5,000 killed per annum across the deep-water hake trawl fishery in south African waters during winter (Watkins et al. 2008). Recent large-scale volcanic eruptions at Heard Island (2003-2004 in particular) may have caused most birds to desert nesting sites (ACAP 2009). The explosion in European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus numbers on Macquarie Island since 1999 has led to an extensive destruction of habitat and soil erosion at nesting sites. An eradication programme targeting rodents commenced in 2010. Cats (Felis catus) are thought to impact upon colonies on the Kerguelen Islands at Jeanne d'Arc Peninsula (ACAP 2009).|
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II and ACAP Annex 1. It is monitored at South Georgia, Kerguelen, Campbell, Diego Ramirez and the Falkland Islands. Most breeding sites are reserves. Heard and McDonald, Macquarie, and the New Zealand islands are World Heritage Sites. An initial census of Chilean islands has been completed (Lawton et al. 2004). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue monitoring and research programmes at all sites. Conduct complete censuses at all sites at regular intervals (South Georgia, Chile, Falkland Islands [Islas Malvinas] and French Southern Territories). Assess the impact of trawl fisheries bycatch . Continue to develop mitigation strategies for trawl fisheries, notably on the Patagonian Shelf and South Africa. Promote adoption of a) monitoring of seabirds bycatch associated with longline fishing and b) best-practice mitigation measures in all fisheries within the species's range, including via intergovernmental mechanisms under the auspices of ACAP, FAO and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations such as CCAMLR and the tuna commissions of the Atlantic Ocean (ICCAT).
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Thalassarche melanophrys. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 May 2013.|
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