Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Salvin's albatross is thought to breed annually, with adults returning to their breeding colonies in September, where nests are densely constructed in close proximity (one nest per 1.9m²). Eggs are laid in early October and begin to hatch in early to mid-November, with the chicks fledging the following spring in late March to early April (4). Breeding adults forage over the shelf waters around the colonies (4), and feed mainly on fish and squid (2).
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Description

This medium-sized, black-and-white albatross (2) has only recently been considered a distinct species and separate from the shy albatross (Thalassarche cauta) (3). Adults have a pale grey head, throat and upper mantle, paler on the crown, and a dark grey to black back, upperwing and tail. In contrast, the rump and underparts are snowy-white except for a narrow dark border to the underwing and a distinctive black 'thumbmark' at the base of the underwing's leading edge. The legs, feet and beak are an inconspicuous pale grey, with a pale yellow upper ridge to the upper bill and a dark spot at the tip of the lower bill (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Thalassarche salvini breeds on the Bounty Islands (nine islands and islets), Western Chain islets (Snares Islands), and The Pyramid and The Forty-Fours (Chatham Islands), New Zealand (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000, Miskelly et al. 2006) and has bred at least once on Ile des Pingouins (Crozet Islands, French Southern Territories), with four pairs recorded (Jouventin 1990, Brooke 2004). In 1998, the population on the Bounty Islands (99% of total) was estimated at 30,750 pairs (Clark et al. 1998, A. M. Booth in litt. 1999), compared to an estimate in 1978 of 76,000 breeding pairs (Robertson and van Tets 1982). Both estimates were based on counts on Proclamation Island and aerial photographs of all other islands (Robertson and van Tets 1982, Clark et al. 1998), but census methods differed, making comparisons difficult. In 1984, the population on the Snares Islands was estimated at less than 650 pairs. More recently, the population on the Snares Islands increased to 1,111 pairs, with 829 pairs counted on Toru in 2011 and 282 on Rima in 2010 (Sagar et al. 2011). In 1995, two nests on The Pyramid were occupied, and single chicks were observed at The Pyramid in 2006, and the Forty-Fours in 2007 (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). It ranges widely through the south Pacific (Croxall and Gales 1998, Taylor 2000) and large numbers of birds are found along the Peru Current (Taylor 2000). Recent incidental observations have recorded this species in the Cape Horn region (Arata 2003) and off Argentina (Seco Pon et al. 2007). One of the individuals nesting on the Crozet Islands had previously been caught and ringed on South Georgia, in 1982, and returned for several years thereafter. These observations indicate that the species has a more extensive range than previously thought, although the core range is believed to be between Australasia and the west coast of South America (C.J.R. Robertson in litt. 2008). A vagrant was recorded on Midway Atoll (Robertson et al. 2005). A count on Proclamation Island in November 2004 recorded 2,634 nests, which may indicate a 14% drop since the 1998 estimate (Arata 2003); however, this island represents only one of the 20 in the Bounty Island group, and further information is needed (including information on the comparability of estimates) before a population trend can be estimated. It is thought that the Snares Island population may have been stable between 1984 and 2009 (ACAP 2009). The overall population trend is therefore uncertain.

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Range

Crozet, Snares and Bounty islands.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Range

Breeding occurs on nine islands and islets in the Bounty Islands (99% of total), Western Chain in the Snares Islands, and possibly The Pyramid in the Chatham Islands, New Zealand. The species has also bred at least once on Ile des Pingouins (Crozet Islands, French Southern Territories). Non-breeding birds range widely through the south Pacific, with large numbers found along the Peru Current (2). Scarce in the southern Indian Ocean (2), and only a rare visitor to the South Atlantic (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour It is a colonial, annual-breeding species. Eggs are laid from August to September, hatching begins in the third week of October and chicks probably fledge in March-April (ACAP 2009). Habitat Breeding It breeds mostly on small, bare rocky islands (Croxall and Gales 1998). The nest is a muddy pedestal made of dried mud, feathers and some bird bones (Robertson and van Tets 1982). Diet It feeds mainly on cephalopods and fish (Marchant and Higgins 1990).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Breeds on just a few small barren and rocky islands, and otherwise occupies the open oceans (2) (3).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D2

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Booth, A., McClellan, R., Molloy, J., Robertson, C., Stahl, J.-C., Taylor, G.A. & Walker, K.

Justification
This species may have undergone a rapid decline, but different census methods make a comparison of the available data potentially misleading. However, breeding is largely restricted to one tiny island group, where it is susceptible to stochastic events. It is therefore classified as Vulnerable.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Not Recognized (NR)
  • Not Recognized (NR)