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.

Contact the ACAP Communications Advisor if you wish to have your news featured.

Differences in foraging by sympatrically breeding Cory’s and Scopoli’s Shearwaters

Isabel Afán (Estación Biológica de Doñana, Sevilla, Spain) and colleagues have published in the journal Marine Biology on differences in the foraging areas of sympatric Cory’s Calonectris borealis and Scopoli’s C. diomedea Shearwaters during chick-rearing in the Mediterranean’s Chafarinas Archipelago.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“As central-place foragers, pelagic seabirds are constrained by spatiotemporal heterogeneity to find productive marine areas and compete for prey.  We analysed 97 foraging trips to study the movement and oceanographic characteristics of foraging habitats of two different—yet closely related—species of shearwaters (Scopoli’s shearwater Calonectris diomedea and Cory’s shearwater C. borealis) breeding in sympatry in the Mediterranean.  We combined various methodological approaches (GPS-tracking, species distribution modelling and stable isotope analysis) to explore the foraging strategies of these two species.  Isotopic results suggested that trophic habits of both shearwater species were similar, mainly based on pelagic fish consumption.  Foraging areas of both species were characterized by shallow waters near the colony.  Both shearwater species exploited persistent productive marine areas.  The foraging areas of the two species broadly overlapped during the incubation period, but during chick-rearing period, Scopoli’s shearwaters apparently foraged in different areas than Cory’s shearwaters.”

Cory's Shearwater, photograph by Paulo Catry


Afán, I., Navarro, J., Cardador, L., Ramírez, F., Kato, A., Rodríguez, B., Ropert-Coudert, Y. & Forero, M.G. 2013.  Foraging movements and habitat niche of two closely related seabirds breeding in sympatry.  Marine Biology DOI 10.1007/s00227-013-2368-4.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 24 January 2013

BirdLife International seeks inputs for the 2014 IUCN Red List update via the Globally Threatened Seabird Forum

The 2013 IUCN Red List update was published in November.  Seabird species accounts may now be viewed on the BirdLife Data Zone and IUCN Red List website.

In preparation for the 2014 Red List update, BirdLife International has extended an invitation to participate in the forum process to discuss proposed revisions to the global threat status (IUCN Red List category of extinction risk) for selected species, including ACAP-listed albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters and other seabirds.  Visit the seabird forum to read of species under review and to post your own comments on proposals.

“The initial deadline for contributions is 10 February 2014, when we will assess the contributions made.  We will then post up a draft list of preliminary decisions and you will have two more weeks to comment further before final decisions are posted.  The new and revised species assessments and updated factsheets will be published on the BirdLife website and incorporated into the 2014 IUCN Red List, currently scheduled for release in June.”


Grey Petrel: proposed for review, photograph by Peter Ryan

To propose additional species for review post a comment on the relevant ‘Suggestions for new topics’ discussion, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; in either case giving details of population/range size or trend estimates that may require revision.

Assessments of the threat status of newly-defined non-passerine species will be undertaken this year, and Red List assessments for these species will be published in the 2014 Red List update.  The vast majority of topics for the 2014 update have now been posted on the forum website, but a few further discussions will be added over the coming days and weeks, so keep checking back for updates.

Read more on the 2013 changes here.

With thanks to Joe Taylor for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 23 January 2014

The sky is not the limit for the Black-browed Albatross: limited by food availability

Ewan Wakefield (British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK) and colleagues write in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B on what regulates populations of Black-browed Albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Animal populations are frequently limited by the availability of food or of habitat.  In central-place foragers, the cost of accessing these resources is distance-dependent rather than uniform in space.  However, in seabirds, a widely studied exemplar of this paradigm, empirical population models have hitherto ignored this cost.  In part, this is because non-independence among colonies makes it difficult to define population units.  Here, we model the effects of both resource availability and accessibility on populations of a wide-ranging, pelagic seabird, the black-browed albatross Thalassarche melanophris.  Adopting a multi-scale approach, we define regional populations objectively as spatial clusters of colonies.  We consider two readily quantifiable proxies of resource availability: the extent of neritic waters (the preferred foraging habitat) and net primary production (NPP).  We show that the size of regional albatross populations has a strong dependence, after weighting for accessibility, on habitat availability and to a lesser extent, NPP.  Our results provide indirect support for the hypothesis that seabird populations are regulated from the bottom-up by food availability during the breeding season, and also suggest that the spatio-temporal predictability of food may be limiting.  Moreover, we demonstrate a straightforward, widely applicable method for estimating resource limitation in populations of central-place foragers.”


Black-browed Albatross in flight, photograph by Juan Pablo Seco Pon

With thanks to Richard Phillips for information.


Wakefield, E.D., Phillips, R.A. & Matthiopoulos, J. 2014.  Habitat-mediated population limitation in a colonial central-place forager: the sky is not the limit for the black-browed albatross.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 January 2014

Registration for the 12th Seabird Group Conference is open

The 12th International Conference of the (UK) Seabird Group will be held at Merton College, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK over 21-23 March 2014.  The lead convener will be Tim Guilford, Professor of Animal Behaviour, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford (click here).

Preparations for the conference are now well underway.  Click here for details, including instructions for registration.

Balearic Shearwater, photograph by Daniel Oro

The 11th International Seabird Group Conference was held at Plymouth University in the United Kingdom in September 2011 (click here for abstracts of this and of previous conferences).

With thanks to Ilke Win for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 21 January 2014

Fellowship opportunity to help third-world seabirds

“The Seabird Restoration Program (SRP) of the National Audubon Society is seeking applicants for the Herz International Seabird Fellowship.  The fellowship is intended for biologists working with an NGO or GO from third world countries seeking experience with seabird restoration methods for applied seabird conservation. The 10-week field practicum combines ecosystem and behavior theory with practical experience from applied disciplines such as wildlife management and aviculture to develop proactive techniques for managing rare and endangered seabirds.

Recipients of the Josephine D. Herz Fellowship will begin their internship at Audubon's Hog Island Environmental Education Center (Bremen, Maine USA) on May 26, 2014 where they will take part in an intensive two day orientation program with approximately twenty-summer interns. After the orientation, the Herz Fellow will receive field experience at several managed seabird nesting islands throughout the Gulf of Maine. Instructors for the training program include biologists from Audubon's SRP and other professional seabird biologists and ecologists.”

Grey-headed Albatross, photographed by Richard Phillips

The Fellowship provides travel from the recipient’s home country, room, board and camping equipment (click here).

Deadline for applications is 15 March 2014 (click here to apply).

Attach completed application and reference letters and send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Sanctuary Manager, National Audubon Society. 

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer. 20 January 2014

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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