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Thalassarche salvini

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PROCELLARIIFORMES DIOMEDEIDAE

Scientific Name: Thalassarche salvini
Species Authority: (Rothschild, 1893)
Common Name(s):
English Salvin's Albatross
Taxonomic Notes: Diomedea cauta (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into cauta, eremita and salvini following Brooke (2004) , and all placed in the genus Thalassarche following Brooke (2004). T. cauta has subsequently been split into T. cauta and T. steadi following Robertson & Nunn (1998), ACAP (2006)20, 21.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Booth, A., McClellan, R., Molloy, J., Robertson, C., Stahl, J.-C., Taylor, G. & Walker, K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Anderson, O., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Small, C., Sullivan, B., Symes, A.
Justification:
This species may have undergone a rapid decline, but different census methods make a comparison of the available data potentially misleading. However, breeding is largely restricted to one tiny island group, where it is susceptible to stochastic events. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Thalassarche salvini breeds on the Bounty Islands (nine islands and islets), Western Chain islets (Snares Islands), and The Pyramid and The Forty-Fours (Chatham Islands), New Zealand (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000, Miskelly et al. 2006) and has bred at least once on Ile des Pingouins (Crozet Islands, French Southern Territories), with four pairs recorded (Jouventin 1990, Brooke 2004). In 1998, the population on the Bounty Islands (99% of total) was estimated at 30,750 pairs (Clark et al. 1998, A. M. Booth in litt. 1999), compared to an estimate in 1978 of 76,000 breeding pairs (Robertson and van Tets 1982). Both estimates were based on counts on Proclamation Island and aerial photographs of all other islands (Robertson and van Tets 1982, Clark et al. 1998), but census methods differed, making comparisons difficult. In 1984, the population on the Snares Islands was estimated at less than 650 pairs. More recently, the population on the Snares Islands increased to 1,111 pairs, with 829 pairs counted on Toru in 2011 and 282 on Rima in 2010 (Sagar et al. 2011). In 1995, two nests on The Pyramid were occupied, and single chicks were observed at The Pyramid in 2006, and the Forty-Fours in 2007 (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). It ranges widely through the south Pacific (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000) and large numbers of birds are found along the Peru Current (Taylor 2000). Recent incidental observations have recorded this species in the Cape Horn region (Arata 2003) and off Argentina (Seco Pon et al. 2007). One of the individuals nesting on the Crozet Islands had previously been caught and ringed on South Georgia, in 1982, and returned for several years thereafter. These observations indicate that the species has a more extensive range than previously thought, although the core range is believed to be between Australasia and the west coast of South America (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). A vagrant was recorded on Midway Atoll (Robertson et al. 2005). A count on Proclamation Island in November 2004 recorded 2,634 nests, which may indicate a 14% drop since the 1998 estimate (Arata 2003); however, this island represents only one of the 20 in the Bounty Island group, and further information is needed (including information on the comparability of estimates) before a population trend can be estimated. It is thought that the Snares Island population may have been stable between 1984 and 2009 (ACAP 2009). The overall population trend is therefore uncertain.

Countries:
Native:
Australia; Chile; French Southern Territories; Heard Island and McDonald Islands; Namibia; New Zealand; Peru; South Africa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Clark et al. (1998) estimated 30,750 breeding pairs on the Bounty Islands, which represents 99% of the global population; this is equivalent to 61,500 mature individuals, or roughly 90,000 total individuals.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour It is a colonial, annual-breeding species. Eggs are laid from August to September, hatching begins in the third week of October and chicks probably fledge in March-April (ACAP 2009). Habitat Breeding It breeds mostly on small, bare rocky islands (Croxall and Gales 1998). The nest is a muddy pedestal made of dried mud, feathers and some bird bones (Robertson and van Tets 1982). Diet It feeds mainly on cephalopods and fish (Marchant and Higgins 1990).

Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No introduced predators are present on the islands, but they are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events. Small numbers are caught on tuna longliners in New Zealand waters, but it may also be exposed to longline operations elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. Trawlers within New Zealand waters are currently estimated to kill more Salvin's Albatross than longliners (Baird and Smith 2007). From 1996-2005, 247 were returned from fisheries observers with 150 from longliners and 197 from trawl fisheries. Salvin's Albatross constituted approximately 15% of all albatrosses returned by New Zealand fisheries observers 1996-2005 (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). Limited data indicates that T. salvini are also killed by the pelagic longline swordfish Xiphias gladius fishery operating off the coast of Chile, with most birds seen off South America being adults (ACAP 2009). The species is also potentially threatened by climate change because it has a bounded distribution: it is restricted to islands with a maximum altitude of 340 m (Birdlife International unpublished data).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
ACAP Annex 1. In 1985, 1,000 fledglings were banded (Croxall and Gales 1998), but only one has been recovered (G. A. Taylor in litt. 2000). In 1995/1996, a long-term population study was initiated on the Snares population (Taylor 2000). All islands are nature reserves, except for The Pyramid and The Forty-Fours, which are privately owned. In 1998, the Snares and Bounty Islands were declared part of a World Heritage Site. In 2006, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) adopted a measure which will require all tuna and swordfish longline vessels to use at least two seabird bycatch mitigation measures when fishing south of 30 degrees South.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Census all the Bounty Islands intensively for baseline population estimates. Census two islands in the Bounty and Snares Islands for two consecutive years at 10-year intervals. Obtain information from South African and South American observer programmes on bycatch levels. Further develop mitigation devices/techniques to minimise fisheries bycatch in trawl and pelagic longline fisheries. Remote tracking data is required for both breeding and non-breeding birds to further understand the level of interaction with longline and trawl fishing fleets (BirdLife International 2004).


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Thalassarche salvini. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 19 September 2014.
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