|Scientific Name:||Thalassarche steadi|
|Species Authority:||Falla, 1933|
|Taxonomic Notes:||Diomedea cauta (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into cauta, eremita and salvini following Brooke (2004) and steadi following Robertson & Nunn (1998), ACAP (2006) and all placed in the genus Thalassarche following Brooke (2004).|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Near Threatened ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.|
|Contributor/s:||Double, M., Gales, R., Robertson, C., Ryan, P., Scofield, P. & Watkins, B.|
The population trend of this species is poorly known. It is categorised as Near Threatened because, given its longevity and slow productivity, and a high rate of mortality recorded in longline and trawl fisheries, it may be declining at a moderately rapid rate.
Thalassarche steadi is endemic to offshore islands of New Zealand, with the breeding population estimated at approximately 95,000 pairs by ACAP (2009), although only c.77,000 pairs were estimated in 2011. Populations are distributed predominantly on Disappointment Island (91,500 pairs) (ACAP 2009), Auckland (5,000 pairs) (ACAP 2009) and Adams Islands (100 pairs) (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000) in the Auckland Island group, and Bollon's Island (c.100) (Tennyson et al. 1998) in the Antipodes Island group. The population is estimated to comprise approximately 300,000. 'Shy' type albatrosses have been recorded in the south-west Atlantic for many years (White et al. 2002, Phalan et al. 2004). Most of the birds recorded are immature, which has hindered specific identification. However, genetic evidence from a bird on South Georgia confirmed the species was T. steadi (Phalan et al. 2004). In addition, tracking studies (Thompson and Sagar 2007), bird band recoveries (Robertson et al. 2003) and DNA-based identification of bycatch specimens (Abbott et al. 2006) have confirmed that this species forages in Tasmania and Southern Africa/Namibia (Robertson et al. 2003), and immature birds are thought to occur regularly throughout the South Atlantic and south-west Indian Ocean. The first tracking studies commenced on Auckland Island in 2006 and are ongoing (Thompson and Sagar 2007). Although global counts of T. steadi have increased from 75,000 breeding pairs in 1993 to a current estimate of 97,089 pairs, the estimates are not based on comparable methodologies and therefore population trends cannot be calculated. Counts since 2007 are comparable with those from 2011 and indicate a substantially declining population (117,197 pairs in 2007 and 77,005 pairs in 2011), but further data are needed to confirm whether this represents a genuine and extremely rapid decline. The need for accurate trend information is highlighted by the report of an estimated 8,000 albatrosses of this species killed annually as a result of longline and trawl fisheries (ACAP 2009).
Native:Australia; Namibia; New Zealand; South Africa
Present - origin uncertain:Angola (Angola); Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); French Southern Territories (the); Heard Island and McDonald Islands; Madagascar; Mauritius; Mozambique; Norfolk Island; Peru; Réunion; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Uruguay
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||The global estimated breeding population was approximately 77,145 pairs in 2011. This equates to 154,000 mature individuals, although there is a suggestion that this species might be a biennial breeder, in which case the number of adults would require recalculation.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||Behaviour The White-capped Albatross breeds annually in colonies, though recent studies suggest it may breed biennially (ACAP 2009). However, the breeding frequency and season for this species is poorly known (Petersen 2004). Eggs are usually laid mid-November and hatch in February. Chicks are thought to fledge in mid-August, though a fledging period of June-July may be more likely. Some adults remain near the colonies year-round (ACAP 2009). Habitat Breeding Colonies are generally located on rock islands. Diet The main foods include, fish, cephalopods, crustaceans and tunicates. It is a ship-follower and fish processing discharge comprises a significant proportion of its diet. Birds are generally surface feeders, but may undertake shallow surface dives.|
The geographic range of T. steadi brings them into contact with a variety of longline and trawl fisheries in New Zealand, the high seas and off the coast of South Africa and Namibia (Baker et al. 2007). Although T. cauta ('shy-type') comprised 15% of all seabirds returned from longlines in New Zealand waters during 1988-1997 (Taylor 2000), New Zealand demersal and pelagic longline fisheries are currently considered to have a relatively low impact on T. steadi populations (Baker et al. 2007). The Auckland Islands squid trawl fishery killed 2,300 adults in 1990 alone, most through collision with net monitor cables, which were phased out in 1992 (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000). However, birds are still killed by entanglement in nets and by collision with warp cables in trawl fisheries (Taylor 2000, Baker et al. 2007). This species is also the most frequently caught species in pelagic tuna longline operations off South Africa (Ryan et al. 2002). It is estimated that 7,000-11,000 T. steadi were killed in the South African pelagic longline fishery between 1998-2000 (Ryan et al. 2002), and in 2005, an estimated 500-600 shy-type albatrosses were killed(Petersen 2004). In the South African demersal trawl fishery, observer data from 2004-2005 produced an estimate of 7,700 shy type albatrosses killed annually. Subsequent DNA analysis indicated that these were all T. steadi (ACAP 2009). In 2005 and 2006, T. steadi spent 85% of their time in southern African trawl grounds (ACAP 2009). Since the introduction of mandatory permit requirements in August 2006, whereby all vessels must deploy a bird streamer line, the bycatch rate has decreased but further data collection is required to establish a new catch estimate (Watkins et al 2006). The impact of the large distant water fleets of Japan, Taiwan and Korea on T. steadi is largely unknown, but Japanese data from 2001-2002 indicate that at least 10% of recorded albatross mortalities were 'shy-type' albatrosses (Baker et al. 2007). It has been estimated that 8,200 White-capped Albatrosses are currently killed per annum, 75% of which are as a result of interactions with trawl fisheries in South African, Namibian and New Zealand waters (Baker et al. 2007). In the Uruguayan longline fleet operating in the southwest Atlantic Ocean, shy-type albatrosses (cauta-type) made up 25% of all birds observed in association with vessels, mostly immatures. Five individuals caught as bycatch were confirmed as T. steadi, but numbers caught were not sufficient to predict an overall bycatch level for the fleet (Jimenez et al. 2009). Commercial exploitation of squid or fish reserves in Bass Strait could pose a threat to the species in the future by direct competition for food. On Auckland Island, the nesting area was significantly reduced during 1972-1982 because of interference by pigs, and feral cats may also take small numbers of chicks (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000, Thompson and Sagar 2006).
Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II and ACAP Annex 1. A five-year aerial survey program of the Disappointment Island population commenced in 2006-2007. The New Zealand Department of Conservation has recently contracted the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research to conduct demographic and tracking study of the Auckland Islands populations. Conservation Actions Proposed
Census populations on all New Zealand islands. Conduct regular monitoring of a representative proportion of the population. Determine the at-sea distribution of the species through tracking studies and the interaction with longline and trawl fisheries (BirdLife International 2004). Promote the adoption of a) monitoring of seabird bycatch associated with longline and trawl fishing and b) best-practice mitigation measures in all fisheries within the species range, including via intergovernmental mechanisms such as ACAP, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and FAO.
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Thalassarche steadi. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 May 2013.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided|