This species is classed as Near Threatened owing to its small population and small range on one island, which remains susceptible to the introduction of rats. Should any immediate threat arise, this species should be uplisted as a matter of urgency.
Distribution and populationAnthus antarcticus
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
is endemic to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia (Georgia del Sur)
, with a total population estimated as 3,000-4,000 pairs (McIntosh and Walton 2000)
. It is confined to c.20 small, rat-free offshore islands and islets, and to a few mainland areas (<10% of total habitat), enclosed by sea-level glaciers, in which brown rat Rattus norvegicus
is currently absent (Pye and Bonner 1980, Prince and Croxall 1983, Croxall 1987, Prince and Poncet 1996). Population justification
The population has been estimated at 3000-4000 pairs, equivalent to 6,000-8,000 mature individuals and c.9,000-12,000 individuals in total.Trend justification
The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.Ecology
It breeds in low altitude tussock grassland, wintering mainly on ice-free shorelines (Prince and Croxall 1983)
. It feeds on insects in tussock habitat, and insects and crustaceans along tidelines (J. P. Croxall in litt.
. In typical habitat it is common and productive, but winter survival of juveniles is low. It has almost no natural predators, remains of birds very occasionally turning up at middens of Brown Skua Catharacta lonnbergi
(J. P. Croxall in litt.
The projected continuing recession of glaciers at South Georgia threaten its remaining mainland habitats with invasion by rats (J. P. Croxall in litt.
. Accidental introduction of rats to offshore islands is a perpetual risk. Conservation Actions Underway
Although precautions are taken to prevent the introduction of rats to several important sites, their remote location renders regulation of all visitors to all sites impossible in practice (J. P. Croxall in litt.
2000, McIntosh and Walton 2000)
. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to obtain an up-to-date population estimate. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Maintain measures to prevent the introduction of rats.
Croxall, J. P. 1987. The status and conservation of Antarctic seabirds and seals: a review. Environment International 13: 55-70.
McIntosh, E.; Walton, D. W. H. 2000. Environmental Management Plan for South Georgia.
Prince, P. A.; Croxall, J. P. 1983. Birds of South Georgia: new records and re-evaluations of status. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 59: 15-27.
Prince, P. A.; Poncet, S. 1996. South Georgia bird distributions. Section 2: maps 2.1--2.33. In: Trathan, P.N.; Daunt, F.H.J.; Murphy, E.J. (ed.), South Georgia: an ecological atlas, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK.
Pye, T.; Bonner, W. N. 1980. Feral brown rats, Rattus norvegicus, in South Georgia (South Atlantic Ocean). Journal of Zoology (London) 192: 237-255.
Text account compilers
Stattersfield, A., O'Brien, A., Taylor, J.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Anthus antarcticus. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 15/03/2014.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 15/03/2014.
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.
Additional resources for this species