Macronectes halli


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

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

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.

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).

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
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.
Population Trend: Increasing

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

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. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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