Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Adult Indian yellow-nosed albatrosses return to the breeding colonies in late August, where they meet their partner from at least two previous breeding seasons. Forming loose groups on slopes and cliffs, the each pair lays just one large, white egg which is incubated by both the male and the female. The chick is fed and cared for until late March to mid April, when it fledges and begins to feed itself. It will not breed until it is eight or nine years old (3). Often following fishing vessels, the Indian yellow-nosed albatross feeds on fish, crustaceans and cephalopods. It feeds by snatching prey from the surface and by diving into the water. Although faring poorly when in competition for fish with larger sea birds, the Indian yellow-nosed albatross makes up for this with its agile flying technique, which enables it to catch scraps thrown from trawlers before they hit the water (2). Whilst usually silent at sea, this bird will give occasional croaks when competing for food (3).
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Description

Part of the mollymawk family, the Indian yellow-nosed albatross is one of the smallest albatross species, compensating for its relatively diminutive proportions with excellent in-flight agility. A black and white bird, it has just one blaze of colour - a yellow stripe running down the top of the bill, blending into red at the tip – to which it owes its name. The back, upperwings and tail are dark grey, fading to very pale grey across the head and neck, and white on the underwings and rump. The underwings are tipped with black and have a narrow margin of black at the leading edge (2). The legs are pale bluish pink (3). The sexes are alike, but juveniles have a white head and black bill (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Thalassarche carteri breeds on Amsterdam, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, and St Paul Islands (French Southern Territories) and on Prince Edward Island (South Africa). In addition, two breeding pairs were recorded on The Pyramid in 2007. Colonies on Amsterdam Island are estimated at c.27,000 pairs breeding per year in 2006 (Rolland et al. 2009). Elsewhere, there were an estimated 7,000 pairs on Prince Edward Island in 2009 (ACAP 2009), 7,030 pairs per year on Crozet Island (ACAP 2007), as well as 50 pairs on Kerguelen (Weimerskirch and Jouventin 1998) and six pairs on St Paul, giving a total of 41,086 pairs per year, equating to c.82,000 mature individuals, and perhaps more than 160,000 individuals of all age classes (Gales 1998). Colonies on Amsterdam Island declined on average by 58% at between 1982 and 1995. The lowest numbers were recorded in 1995, after which some colonies on the island increased or stabilised between 1996 and 2005. The overall trend on Amsterdam is a decline of over 30% between 1982-2006 (Rolland et al. 2009). The population on Prince Edward appears stable: in 2001-2002, 4,170 pairs were counted, representing 7,500 pairs in total once early breeding failures were taken into account (Ryan et al. 2003). However, the figure for Prince Edward Island was recently revised down to 7,000 pairs in 2009 (ACAP 2009). Decline over three generations is estimated at 51%, assuming a continuing decline at Amsterdam Island and populations elsewhere remaining stable. Outside the breeding season, the species disperses throughout the southern Indian Ocean between 30-50 degrees South, and birds are frequently observed off southern Africa and south-western Australia, extending east to the Tasman Sea and north-eastern New Zealand (Harrison 1983).

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Range

Breeds on s Indian Ocean islands; ranges southern oceans.
  • 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

The Indian yellow-nosed albatross breeds on Prince Edward Island, the Crozet Islands, the Kerguelen Islands, Amsterdam Island and the St Paul Islands in the Southern Indian Ocean. Outside the breeding season, the Indian yellow-nosed albatross disperses throughout the Indian Ocean and can be found off the south-western coast of Australia, east to the Tasman Sea and off northeastern New Zealand (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour It breeds annually, and breeding is either solitarily or in loose groups,. Eggs are laid in September-October and hatch in November-December. Chicks fledge in March-April. It catches prey by surface seizing and shallow diving (ACAP 2009). Diet It feeds mainly on fish and squid, and less frequently on crustaceans (Cherel and Klages 1998, ACAP 2009). Habitat Breeding It breeds on slopes or cliffs, typically in bare, rocky areas but sometimes in tussock-grass and ferns (Brooke 2004). Foraging range Satellite-tracking of birds from Amsterdam Island has shown that breeding birds forage up to 1,500 km from the colony (Pinaud and Weimerskirch 2007).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Marine
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Spending the non-breeding season out at sea, the Indian yellow-nosed albatross comes to land only during the breeding season, preferring slopes and cliffs in bare, rocky regions, with little vegetation (2).
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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Breeding Category

Vagrant
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A4bde

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

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

Contributor/s
Cooper, J., Crawford, R., Croxall, J., Robertson, C., Ryan, P.G. & Weimerskirsch, H.

Justification
This species is listed as Endangered on the basis of an estimated very rapid ongoing decline over three generations (71 years), based on data from the population stronghold on Amsterdam Island. This decline is the result of adult mortality and poor recruitment owing to interactions with fisheries and disease.


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