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Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes

IUCN Red List Criteria

Near Threatened (criteria nearly met) A4cd 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2013 Near Threatened
2012 Vulnerable
2010 Endangered
2008 Endangered
2005 Endangered
2004 Endangered
2003 Endangered
2000 Vulnerable
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern

Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type   Average mass -

Distribution

  Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 29 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 50,800,000 medium
Area of Occupancy breeding/resident (km2) 29 medium
Number of locations 12 -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals good Estimated 2006
Population trend Increasing medium -
Number of subpopulations 6 - - -
Largest subpopulation 46000 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 18.8 - - -
Population justification: Counts in the 2006-2007 breeding season produced population estimates of 64,500 pairs, equivalent to 129,000 breeding individuals (Flint 2007). This estimate is based on standardised surveys at Midway Atoll, Laysan Island and French Frigate Shoals in 2006 (551,940 pairs; 25,780 95% CI; Flint 2007). These three colonies support 90% of the global breeding population. Estimates for the other colonies are the most recent available (1982-2006). There are c.23 pairs breeding on the Bonin Islands in Japan, and c.400 pairs on islands offshore from Mexico (primarily Isla Guadalupe, 337 pairs estimated in 2005; Hyrenbach and Dotson 2003).
Trend justification: Monitoring data from three colonies in Hawaii, representing over 75% of the world's population, suggest that numbers may have decreased by 9.6% between 1992 and 2001 (Gilman and Freifeld 2003, USFWS data per E. Flint 2003). However, linear regression analysis of log-transformed counts at the same colonies suggests that the species’s population has remained stable since at least 1957 and has increased overall since 1923, and matrix modelling suggests that its population is currently stable or increasing slightly (Arata et al. 2009). In addition, trends over a three generation period (56 years) commencing in 1956 were estimated at +26% using TRIM (ACAP unpubl. data).

In 2003, estimated rates of incidental mortality in longline fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean (based on a moderate bycatch scenario of 8,000 birds being killed per year) resulted in a projected future decline of more than 60% over the next three generations (56 years), if bycatch mortality was not reduced through mitigation measures (Lewison and Crowder 2003). However, the demographic parameters for Lewison and Crowder’s (2003) model, namely survival probability, growth probability and fecundity, were based on data from the 1960s and 1970s, for which it was incorrectly assumed that no bycatch took place (Arata et al. 2009). This implies that the basic parameters for a stable population with no additional mortality were actually estimated from a population already experiencing significant bycatch, and were thus underestimated. This appears to have led to an overestimation of the declines that would result from the annual bycatch scenarios tested by Lewison and Crowder (2003), by counting this source of mortality both within the demographic parameter estimates and within the simulation scenario, effectively doubling the impact of fisheries (Arata et al. 2009). Nevertheless, likely bycatch levels are still predicted to cause a decline in the population, albeit not as rapid as previously projected (Arata et al. 2009). Other studies on this species have confirmed the impact of fisheries bycatch on survival (Verán et al. 2007) and the annual population growth rate (Niel and Lebreton 2005). Annual bycatch was estimated at 5,228 birds in 2005, which, if doubled to account for underestimation, approaches the maximum Potential Biological Removal (PBR) level of 11,980 birds, which is calculated to be the maximum level of off-take possible without causing a decline (Arata et al. 2009). The maximum PBR level for this species has also been estimated at 8,850 birds per year (Niel and Lebreton 2005) and 10,000 birds per year (Cousins and Cooper 2000).

It still remains necessary to robustly model the future impact of bycatch on this species. In the meantime, given the risk of bycatch approaching PBR, and potential risk to nesting habitat from sea-level rise (Storlazzi et al. 2013), it seems appropriate to precautionarily project future declines approaching 30% over the next 56 years (three generations).

Country/Territory distribution

Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Canada Native Extant   Yes  
China (mainland) Native Extant   Yes  
Guam (to USA) Native Extant   Yes  
Japan Native Extant Yes    
Marshall Islands Native Extant   Yes  
Mexico Native Extant   Yes  
Micronesia, Federated States of Native Extant   Yes  
New Zealand Vagrant Extant      
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) Unknown Extant      
Palau Unknown Extant      
Philippines Unknown Extant      
Russia (Asian) Native Extant   Yes  
South Korea Native Extant   Yes  
Taiwan (China) Native Extant   Yes  
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) Native Extant Yes    
USA Native Extant      

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
High Seas Pacific, Eastern Central 1 - Marine site factsheet
High Seas Pacific, Eastern Central 2 - Marine site factsheet
Japan Mukojima islands site factsheet
Japan Senkaku islands site factsheet
Japan Torishima island site factsheet
Taiwan (China) Yieliu site factsheet
USA Lehua Islet site factsheet
USA Lehua Islet site factsheet
USA Northwestern Hawaiian Islands site factsheet

Habitats & altitude

Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Intertidal Rocky Shoreline major breeding
Marine Intertidal Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, Etc major breeding
Marine Intertidal Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major non-breeding
Altitude 0 - 50 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact

Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources / Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact:
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals / Persecution/control Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Geological events Volcanoes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Past Impact
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion, Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance War, civil unrest & military exercises Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Domestic Cat (Felis catus) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Polynesian Rat (Rattus exulans) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Decline Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation

Utilisation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Adults and juveniles Wild Subsistence, National Non-trivial Recent
Wearing apparel, accessories Whole Adults and juveniles Wild International Non-trivial Historical

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Phoebastria nigripes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/04/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)
Species name author (Audubon, 1849)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 29 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species