Macronectes halli 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Procellariiformes Procellariidae

Scientific Name: Macronectes halli
Species Authority: Mathews, 1912
Common Name(s):
English Northern Giant Petrel, Hall's Giant-Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant-Petrel
French Pétrel de Hall
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.
Identification information: 90 cm. Giant petrel with huge bill. Adult: grey-brown body with paler forehead, sides of face and chin; bill 90-105 mm, pinkish-yellow horn tipped pink-brownish; eye grey to off-white; juvenile: completely dark brown fading with age. Similar spp. M. giganteus has whiter head, and is occasionally completely white; eye generally brown; pale leading edge to wing; tip of bill green.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Baker, B., Croxall, J., Patterson-Fraser, D., Phillips, R., Robertson, C. & Weimerskirsch, H.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Black, A., Sullivan, B. & Symes, A.
This species had been predicted to undergo a moderately rapid population decline in the near future but has instead shown a significant increase during the past two decades (probably owing to greater availability of carrion from expanding populations of fur seals, increased waste from commercial fishing operations, and the use of measures to reduce seabird bycatch around some breeding colonies). It no longer approaches the threshold for classification as threatened and is therefore classified as Least Concern.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Macronectes halli breeds at South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), Prince Edward Islands (South Africa), Crozet and Kerguelen Islands (French Southern Territories), Macquarie Island (Australia), Auckland, Campbell, Antipodes and Chatham Islands and, historically, on islets off Stewart Island (New Zealand). The world population in the 1980s was estimated at c.8,600 pairs (Hunter 1985). A more recent estimate (late 1990s) is 11,500 pairs, an apparent increase of 34% (Patterson et al. undated), which may be partly attributable to better monitoring, but also probably reflects greater availability of carrion from expanding populations of fur seals Arctocephalus gazella and A. tropicalis, increased waste from commercial fishing operations (Patterson et al. undated), and use of measures to reduce seabird bycatch around some breeding colonies, such as South Georgia (Georgias del Sur).

Countries occurrence:
Antarctica; Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); French Southern Territories; New Zealand; South Africa; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Uruguay
Present - origin uncertain:
Bouvet Island; Heard Island and McDonald Islands; Mozambique; Namibia; Norfolk Island
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 88600000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The largest population is on South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), with c.4,500 pairs. followed by Chatham Islands (c.2000 pairs on the Forty-Fours and 80-100 pairs on Middle Sister), Iles Kerguelen (1,450-1,800 pairs), Iles Crozet (1,300 pairs), Macquarie Island (c.1,300 pairs), Prince Edward Island (650 pairs), Antipodes Island (230 pairs), Campbell Island (230 pairs) and the Auckland Group (50 pairs). In total, the population is estimated to number 11,000-14,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 17,000-21,000 individuals in total.

Trend Justification:  Recent data indicate population increases may be occurring. In the 1980s, the world population was estimated to number c.8,600 pairs (Hunter 1985). A more recent estimate, from the late 1990s is 11,500 pairs, an apparent increase of 34 % (Patterson et al. undated). A comprehensive survey of all known breeding sites in the South Georgia archipelago between 2005 and 2006 suggests that there has been a c.30 % increase in the last two decades (Poncet et al. in litt. 2008). The Marion Island and possibly the Prince Edward Island populations are also increasing and numbers are stable or increasing at Macquarie (Woehler and Croxall 1999). The Possession Island (Crozet) population, which decreased between the 1980s and 1992, may now be increasing (Bretagnolle et al. 1991, H. Weimerskirch unpublished data). These increases probably reflect greater availability of carrion from expanding populations of fur seals Arctocephalus gazella and A. tropicalis, increased waste from commercial fishing operations (Patterson et al. undated), and use of measures to reduce seabird bycatch around some breeding colonies, such as South Georgia (Georgias del Sur). A recent census on the Antipodes Islands counted 230 breeding pairs, but since this was the first full count, the trend is not known (Wiltshire and Hamilton 2003).

Current Population Trend: Increasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 11000-14000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Where they co-exist at the same location, Northern Giant-petrels breed approximately six weeks before Southern Giant-petrels (Hunter 1987, De Bruyn et al. 2007). Birds feed on penguin and pinniped carrion, cephalopods, krill, offal, discarded fish and refuse from ships, often feeding near trawlers and longliners (Hunter and Brooke 1982, Hunter 1983). Males and females exhibit clearly defined spatial segregation in foraging ranges (Hunter 1983, Gonzalez Solis et al. 2000, Becker et al.2002, Gonzalez-Solis and Croxall 2005). During the breeding season, males exploit scavenging opportunities in and around seal and penguin colonies and are coastal in distribution, whereas females are much more dependent on pelagic resources (Patterson and Fraser 2003, BirdLife International 2004, Quintana and Dell'Arciprete). There is significant sexual dimorphism, with female mass approximately 80% that of males (Gonzalez-Solis 2004). Ringing recoveries indicate juveniles forage more widely than adults (Hunter 1984a). At some sites, its less colonial breeding habit may make it less sensitive to human disturbance than Southern Giant-petrel, though degree of coloniality does not differ on South Georgia (Georgias del Sur), the largest breeding colony (R. A. Phillips in litt. 2008). On the Chatham Islands, regurgitations from the birds on the Forty-Fours indicate a reliance on natural food sources (esp.Gnathophausia ingens) rather than carrion - there being no penguin colonies in the Chatham Islands (C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008). Average age of first breeding is c.10 years, and mean adult annual survival at South Georgia is 90% (Hunter 1984a).
Systems: Terrestrial; Marine
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 17
Movement patterns: Full Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): A total of 2,000-4,000 giant-petrels were estimated killed in illegal or unregulated Southern Ocean longline fisheries for Patagonian toothfishDissostichus eleginoides in 1997-1998 (CCAMLR 1997, CCAMLR 1998). Improved mitigation in a number of Patagonian Toothfish longline fisheries around breeding colonies (including South Georgia {Georgias del Sur}) has led to a reduction in observed bycatch of this species in these areas. Secondary mortality (ingested hooks) and mortality associated with IUU fishing may still be a threat. On the Chatham Islands, fisheries bycatch returned by observers from NZ waters 1996-2005 returned only 17 birds (8 from trawl fisheries and 9 from longline) (C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II and ACAP Annex 1.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys of major breeding sites. Continue monitoring. Minimise disturbance at breeding sites. Research movements and migration. Promote adoption of best-practice mitigation measures in all fisheries within its range, including via intergovernmental mechanisms such as ACAP, FAO and Regional Fisheries Management Organisations.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Macronectes halli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22697859A40186703. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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