|Scientific Name:||Thalassarche eremita|
|Species Authority:||Murphy, 1930|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Diomedea cauta (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into cauta, eremita and salvini following Brooke (2004) and steadi following ACAP (2006) and all placed in the genus Thalassarche following Brooke (2004).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.|
|Contributor/s:||Bell, B., Bell, D., McClellan, R., Molloy, J., Moore, P., Robertson, C., Scofield, P., Stahl, J., Taylor, G. & Walker, K.|
This species is listed as Vulnerable as it has a very small breeding range, being restricted to one breeding site (The Pyramid), rendering it susceptible to stochastic events and human impacts.
|Range Description:||Thalassarche eremita breeds only on The Pyramid, a large rock stack in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. Aerial photographs indicated that the breeding population was between 3,200 and 4,200 pairs (Croxall and Gales 1998), but ground counts between 1999-2003 and in 2007 revealed c.5,300 occupied sites (Robertson et al. 2003, C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008). Counts in recent years and aerial photographs from 1973, 1974 and 1991 suggest that the population is stable (ACAP 2009). Satellite tracking (1997-1999) and other observations indicate that it disperses within the south Pacific Ocean west to Tasmania and east to Chile and Peru. During April-July (the non-breeding season) birds migrate to the south-west coast of South America and transit northwards with the Humboldt Current into Peruvian coastal waters, as far north as 6°S (Robertson et al. 2003, BirdLife International 2004). Up to 90% of the wintering time (3-4 months) is spent in the territorial waters of Chile and Peru, which, based on at-sea data collected between 1980 and 1995, support c.73% of the estimated global population (Spear et al. 2003, BirdLife International 2004) (3,900-6,790 birds were estimated to be using the Humboldt Current each autumn, with very few there during the spring) (Spear et al. 2003). An estimated 1,200-1,500 chicks fledged each year between 1993 and 1995, 2,100 of which were banded (Croxall and Gales 1998).|
Native:American Samoa (American Samoa); Australia; Chile; Cook Islands; French Polynesia; New Zealand; Niue; Peru; Wallis and Futuna
Present - origin uncertain:New Caledonia; Norfolk Island
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
Ground counts between 1999-2003 revealed c.5,300 occupied sites (Robertson et al. 2003), and further counts in 2007 and 2010 gave similar figures (5,247 and 5,245 occupied sites, respectively) (Robertson in litt. 2008, Fraser et al. 2011). This gives a total estimated global population of c.11,000 mature individuals, roughly equating to c.16,000 individuals in total.
|Habitat and Ecology:||Behaviour Eggs are laid September-October, hatching November-December and fledging in March-April (Marchant and Higgins 1990). The earliest recorded breeding age is seven years, but birds return to the colony at the age of four (ACAP 2009). Habitat Breeding It usually nests on rocky ledges and steep slopes. At sea the species appears to be largely pelagic, showing less preference for waters along the continental shelf than congeners. Diet The diet has not been well studied but it is thought to feed mostly on cephalopods and fish (Marchant and Higgins 1990).|
|Major Threat(s):||In 1985, a reduction in the extent and condition of vegetation on the islet occurred due to an extreme storm, with a resultant loss of soil cover. As a result, there was an increased probability of nest collapse, due to reduced moisture retention (Croxall and Gales 1998), though the impact was not as severe as that on Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi on the Sisters and Forty-Fours Islands (P. Scofield in litt..2007). Since 1998, there has been some improvement in soil and vegetation cover (Robertson et al. 2003). Parts of the colony that have been exposed to recent storms have had very low productivity (Croxall and Gales 1998), although overall c.60% of nests hatched young between 1997-2000 (Robertson et al. 2003). Mortality has been recorded in pelagic and demersal longline fisheries in New Zealand (New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries 2007), with one incident involving 12 birds among 36 albatrosses killed by one longline vessel in the Chatham Rise area in 2007 (Anon 2007). Birds also attend trawlers off both the east (mainly) and west coast (rarely) of New Zealand, and have been caught in trawl wires. Three banded or tagged birds have been reported as caught by coastal longline fisheries in Chile and Peru, 1995-1999 (Robertson et al. 2003), and mortality levels in these regions are potentially the most serious threat to the species. Illegal harvesting of chicks may occur occasionally and, although numbers are apparently small, this may have some effect on the population (Taylor 2000).|
Conservation Actions Underway
ACAP Annex 1. In 1995 detailed population studies commenced, and a five year study funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries began in 2006. The islet is privately owned (Taylor 2000). In 2008 New Zealand government introduced compulsory measures to mitigate the effects of long-lining on seabirds. Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue accurate ground census over three consecutive years. Repeat census at five-year intervals. Correlate aerial and ground counts. Resolve issue of chick harvesting with local community. Discuss protection options with the owners of The Pyramid. Develop and effectively implement mitigation techniques to minimise fisheries bycatch, particularly by longliners.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Thalassarche eremita. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 June 2013.|
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