ACAP Latest News

Read about recent developments and findings in procellariiform science and conservation relevant to the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels in ACAP Latest News.

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Satellite-tracking Southern Giant Petrels from Isla Arce and Isla Gran Robredo, Argentina

Gabriela Blanco (Centro Nacional Patagónico, Puerto Madryn, Argentina) and colleagues have written in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science on satellite tracking Southern Giant Petrels Macronectes giganteus at sea off the coast of Argentina.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“To study habitat use and at-sea movements of southern giant petrels (SGP) during non-breeding period, we deployed 15 satellite transmitters (six adults, nine juveniles) at Isla Arce and Isla Gran Robredo colonies in Patagonia, Argentina.  Birds were instrumented during 81.4 ± 37 days.  Adult birds used 74% of the Argentine shelf concentrating mainly at the shelf break, middle shelf waters, and the surroundings of the colony.  After fledging, juveniles spread to the Argentine, Uruguayan and Brazilian shelves within the South Atlantic.  Adults alternated at-sea excursions (12 ± 5 days) with periods at the colony of 3 ± 0.3 days.  Contrarily, juveniles moved first to the shelf break and then traveled [sic] northwards reaching the south of Brazil.  There was some spatial overlap between age classes, but only during the first 30 days after juveniles had fledged; thereafter there was not overlap between the areas used by both age classes.  The Argentine shelf is widely used by different species offering a suitable environment for foraging; this may be why adults SGP from Patagonian colonies spend all year-round within the Argentine shelf.  The identification of used areas of non-breeding SGP fills a gap in the species knowledge contributing not only to the preservation the species, but also to the management of marine areas globally recognized as important for many other Procellariiformes.”

Southern Giant Petrel, photograph by Juan Pablo Seco Pon

Click here to access a related paper by the senior author.


Blanco, G.S.  & Quintana, F. 2014.  Differential use of the Argentine shelf by wintering adults and juveniles southern giant petrels,Macronectes giganteus, from Patagonia.    Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 149: 151-159.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 19 February 2015

Seascapes used by Southern Giant Petrels from breeding colonies in Patagonian Argentina

Gabriel Blanco (Centro Nacional Patagónico, Puerto Madryn, Argentina) and colleagues have published in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science on the at-sea distribution of adult and juvenile Southern Giant Petrels Macronectes giganteus from Isla Arce and Isla Gran Robredo.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“The characterization of the seascape used by marine top predators provides a wide perspective of pelagic habitat use and it is necessary to understand the functioning of marine systems  The goal of this study was to characterize the oceanographic and biological features of marine areas used by adult and first year juvenile southern giant petrels (SGP, Macronectes giganteus) from northern Patagonian colonies (Isla Arce and Gran Robredo) during the austral fall and winter (2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008).  The marine environment exploited by the SGP was characterized using sea surface temperature (SST), SST gradients, chlorophyll-a concentration, water depth, oceanographic regimes, and ocean surface winds.  In addition, the biological seascape was defined by considering the distribution of squid during the months of study.  Juveniles SGP exploited a wide range of environments focusing mainly on productive neritic waters using a variety of oceanographic regimes.  Juveniles were exposed to eutrophic and enriched waters, probably because of the frequent presence of thermal fronts in their utilization areas.  Adults' environments lacked of thermal fronts remaining the majority of their time within the oceanographic regime “Continental Shelf”, in water depths of 100–200 m, exploiting mesotrophic and eutrophic environments, and remaining in areas of known food resources related to the presence of squid.  For the most part, juveniles were exposed to westerly winds, which may have helped them in their initial flight to the shelf break, east of the colony.  Wintering adults SGP also explored areas characterized by westerly winds but this did not play a primary role in the selection of their residence areas.  Juveniles during their first year at sea have to search for food exploring a variety of unknown environments.  During their search, they remained in productive environments associated to fronts and probably also associated to fisheries operating in their foraging areas.  The understanding of pelagic birds' habitat selection and preferences through the year is crucial for the monitoring of anthropogenic impacts over these species.  Further studies should focus on the prediction of variables that determine the distribution of these species though the year and during different life stages.”

Southern Giant Petrel at sea, photograph by Warwick Barnes


Blanco, G.S., Pisoni, J.P. & Quintana, F. 2015.  Characterization of the seascape used by juvenile and wintering adult Southern Giant Petrels from Patagonia Argentina.  Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 153: 135-144.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 18 February 2015

UPDATED. Vagrant Grey-headed Albatrosses visit Black-browed Albatross colonies in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)*

Mollymawk albatrosses Thalassarche spp. occasionally turn up as vagrants on islands in the Southern Ocean, usually in breeding colonies of congeners, as reported from time to time in ACAP Latest News (click here).  Some of the birds occupy nests and there a few examples of pairing with the species breeding in the visited colony.

Mollymawk species recorded in this way include Black-browed T. melanophris (Marion Island), Indian Yellow-nosed T. carteri (Marion), Salvin’s T. salvini, (Diego Ramirez, Gough and Kerguelen) and White-capped T. steadi (Bird (South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)*), Prince Edward).  The Grey-headed Albatross T. chrysostoma has also been reported in the literature as a vagrant in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)*, with a banded individual on West Point Island seen every year from 1952 to 1956, and another record in 1969.

Eight more recent records of vagrant Grey-headed Albatrosses from the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)* are reported here by island locality.

Beauchêne Island:  November 2001 occupying a nest on the edge of a large Black-browed Albatross colony (A. Black), c. 2005 and October 2010 (G. Munro) and 18 December 2010 (A.C. Wolfaardt); 2010 records at two different localities among breeding Black-browed Albatrosses.

Beauchêne Island, 18 December 2010, photograph by Anton Wolfaardt

Bird Island:  October 2005 (S. Crofts).

Bird Island, October 2005, photograph by Sarah Crofts

New Island:  1990s, among Black-brow nests (T. Chater) and 16 December 2010, flying over a Black-brow colony (J.P. Granadeiro).


New Island, 16 December 2010, photograph by José Pedro Granadeiros

Steeple Jason Island:  2010 or 2011, on edge of Black-brow colony (S. Crofts) and 20 January 2015 on empty Black-brow nest (V. Collier & M. Reeves).

Steeple Jason Island, 20 January 2015, photographs by Vicky Collier

With thanks to Andy Black, Paulo Catry, Tom Chater, Vicky Collier, Sarah Crofts, José Pedro Granadeiro, Grant Munro, Mickey Reeves and Anton Wolfaardt for information and photographs.

Selected Literature:

Woods, R.W. 1988.  Guide to Birds of the Falkland Islands.  Oswestry: Anthony Nelson.  256 pp.

Woods, R.W. & Woods, A. 1997.  Atlas of Breeding Birds of the Falkland Islands.  Oswestry: Anthony Nelson.  190 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 February 2015, updated 14 May 2015                                    

*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.

The USA’s latest review of the Short-tailed Albatross makes no change to its domestic conservation status

A review of the conservation status of the globally Vulnerable Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus is required every five years by section 4(c)(2) of the United States’ Endangered Species Act (ESA), under which the species is currently categorized as endangered.  The previous review was published in 2009.

The most recent review released last September by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recommends that no change to the domestic conservation status of the albatross be made, and that despite the species’ building numbers it did not as yet warrant being downlisted to threatened, a lower level of conservation concern in terms of the ESA, or to being delisted.

The report identified the need for an up-to-date survey of the breeding population of Short-tailed Albatrosses on the uninhabited Senkaku Islands, which form a disputed territory, and as a consequence there is no more recent information from them available than for 2002.

“It is important to emphasize that both reclassification and delisting criteria require verified information about actual colony growth in the Senkaku Islands” obtaining which remains “one of the highest priority recovery actions for the species”.

However, the USFWS does predict “with guarded optimism that by 2052, they will have fully recovered from the devastating market hunting that caused their endangerment”.

Female Short-tailed Albatross on Midway Atoll, photograph by Sarah Gutowsky

The report also goes into detail on translocation efforts to establish new colonies, at-sea mortality due to fishing operations and ensuing mitigation research conducted in  the last five years.

Click here to read of Canada’s 2013 reassessment of the conservation status of the Short-tailed Albatross.


Lance, E. 2014.  Conservation status of Short-tailed Albatross.  In: Pacific Seabird Group.  Forty-Second Annual Meeting: a Future for Seabirds San Jose, California, USA Abstract Book 18 - 21 February 2015 San Jose Airport Garden Hotel.  p. 79.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2014.  5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus).   Anchorage: Fish and Wildlife Field Office.  42 pp.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 16 February 2015

A Future for Seabirds: the Pacific Seabird Group meets next week to hear about North Pacific albatrosses (and other procellariiforms)

The Pacific Seabird Group will be holding its 42nd Annual Meeting next week in San Jose, California, USA, with the theme “A Future for Seabirds”.

According to the meeting’s abstract book 10 presentations will be given on the three species of ACAP-listed Northern Pacific albatrosses, as well on mitigation of seabird bycatch, as listed below.

Vickie Bakker & Myra Finkelstein.  Risk management for at-risk seabirds: assessing bycatch effects on the population dynamics of Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes).

Melinda Conners, Chandra Goetsch, Suzanne Budge, Yoko Mitani, William Walker, Daniel Costa & Scott Shaffer.  Black-footed Albatrosses have higher levels of individual variability in behavior and diet than their sympatrically-breeding congener, the Laysan Albatross.

Karen Courtot, Michelle Reynolds, Paul Berkowitz, Janet Moore & Elizabeth Flint.  Effects of sea-level rise and wave-driven inundation on colonial seabirds at Midway Atoll.

Amanda Gladics, Troy Guy, Edward Melvin, Robert Suryan, & Joseph Tyburczy.  Collaborating with fishermen to reduce seabird bycatch in west coast Sablefish fisheries.

Sarah Gutowsky, Ian Jonsen, Marty Leonard & Scott Shaffer.  Daily activity budgets reveal a quasi-flightless stage during non-breeding in Hawaiian albatrosses.

Julio Hernández-Montoya, Carlo Catoni, Alfonso Aguirre-Muñoz, Cecilia Soldatini, Luciana Luna Mendoza & Yuri Albores-Barajas.  Sexual size dimorphism and sexual segregation in foraging distributions in Laysan Albatross from Guadalupe Island, Mexico.

Caitlin Kroeger, Daniel Crocker, Rachael Orben, David Thompson, Leigh Torres & Scott Shaffer.  Comparative foraging energetics of breeding Campbell and Grey-headed Albatrosses.

Ellen Lance.  Conservation status of Short-tailed Albatross.

Edward Melvin & Esteban Fernandez-Juricic.  Laser technology for seabird bycatch prevention in commercial fisheries.

Lindsay Young, Eric VanderWerf, Cathy Granholm, Hob Osterlund, Kim Steutermann & Thomas Savre.  Breeding performance of Laysan Albatrosses Phoebastria immutabilis in a foster parent program.

Short-tailed Albatross fledgling on Midway Atoll, photograph by Dan Clark

Presentations will also be made on the following procellariiform species: Northern or Arctic Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Pink-Footed Shearwater Puffinus creatopus, Audubon’s Shearwater P. lherminieri, Great Shearwater P. gravis, Sooty Shearwater P. griseus, Hutton's Shearwater P. huttoni, Christmas Shearwater P. nativitatis, Newell’s Shearwater P. newelli, Black-vented Shearwater P. opisthomelas, Wedge-tailed Shearwater P. pacificus, Manx Shearwater P. puffinus, Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas, Hawaiian Petrel Pterodroma sandwichensis, Ringed Storm Petrel Hydrobates hornbyi, Ashy Storm Petrel Oceanodroma homochroa (in a special session), Leach’s Storm Petrel O. leucorhoa and Tristram's Storm Petrel O. tristrami.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 15 February 2015

The Agreement on the
Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

ACAP is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to their populations.

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