email a friend
printable version
NT
Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis

IUCN Red List Criteria

Near Threatened (criteria nearly met) A4bd 

IUCN Red List history

Year Category
2012 Near Threatened
2010 Near Threatened
2008 Vulnerable
2005 Vulnerable
2004 Vulnerable
2003 Vulnerable
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
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) 3,500 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 44,000,000 medium
Area of Occupancy breeding/resident (km2) 3,500 medium
Number of locations 16 -
Fragmentation -

Population & trend

  Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 1180000 good Estimated 2006
Population trend Stable medium -
Number of subpopulations 3 - - -
Largest subpopulation 600000 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 28.5 - - -
Population justification: The population is estimated to number c.591,000 breeding pairs, equivalent to c.1.18 million mature individuals (likely to equate to at least 1.7 million total individuals) (Naughton et al. 2007). This estimate is based on standardized 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) (Naughton et al. 2007). Data from Hawaiian colonies suggests that a proportion of the breeding population do not breed each year, and as such the population may be greater than estimated here (L. Young in litt. 2009). Brazil (2009) has estimated the population in Japan at
Trend justification: Population sizes at monitored colonies increased between 1980 and 1995 but have never reached the densities observed prior to large-scale harvests for feathers in the early 1900s. Data indicate a 32% decline during 1992-2002 (3.2% per annum) in populations on Midway Atoll, Laysan Island and French Frigate Shoals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, where 90% of the global population is found (US Fish and Wildlife Service data per B. Flint 2003, Gilman and Freifeld 2003). However, data from 2004 and 2005 indicate that the breeding population then rebounded, and that the overall population trend for 1992-2005 is stable, perhaps because these changes in the breeding populations were reflective of large scale environmental conditions that affected the number of birds that returned to the colonies to nest rather than actual declines in the population (Naughton et al. 2007). A population began nesting in Mexico in the 1980s and has been increasing since then. The current population is about 400 pairs at four sites, although this represents less than 0.1% of the global population (Naughton et al. 2007). Considering such data, and the difficulty of of predicting long-term trends for such a long-lived species, a decline of 20-29% over the period 1992-2078 is precautionarily estimated given the number of documented threats and the uncertainty over their future effects.

Country/Territory distribution

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

Important Bird Areas where this species has triggered the IBA criteria

Country/Territory IBA Name IBA link
High Seas Pacific, Eastern Central 2 - Marine site factsheet
USA Buldir & Near Islands Marine site factsheet
USA Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge 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: 7
Stresses
Species mortality
Human intrusions & disturbance Recreational activities Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species disturbance
Human intrusions & disturbance War, civil unrest & military exercises Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases / Domestic Dog (Canis familiaris) 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, Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases / Avian Pox Virus (Poxvirus avium) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Pollution Garbage & solid waste Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Pollution Industrial & military effluents / Type Unknown/Unrecorded Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation

Utilisation

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food (human) Whole Eggs 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 immutabilis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2014.

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 (Rothschild, 1893)
Population size 1180000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,500 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Summary information on this species