Buller's albatross

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Buller's albatross
Thalassarche bulleri - SE Tasmania.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Diomedeidae
Genus: Thalassarche
Species: T. bulleri
Binomial name
Thalassarche bulleri
(Rothschild, 1893)[2]
Thalassarche bulleri in flight 1 - SE Tasmania.jpg
Thalassarche bulleri in flight 2 - SE Tasmania.jpg

Buller's albatross or Buller's mollymawk, Thalassarche bulleri, is a small mollymawk in the albatross family. It breeds on islands around New Zealand, and feeds in the seas off Australia and the South Pacific.

Taxonomy[edit]

Mollymawks are a type of albatross that belong to the Diomedeidae family and come from the Procellariiformes order, along with shearwaters, fulmars, storm petrels, and diving petrels. They share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. Although the nostrils on the albatross are on the sides of the bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between seven and nine horny plates. Finally, they produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.[3] They also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a high saline solution from their nose.[4]

In 1998, Robertson and Nunn split this species into two, Thalassarche (bulleri) bulleri, and Thalassarche (bulleri) platei, although the majority of authorities including ITIS,[5] James Clements,[6] BirdLife International,[7] and Michael Brooke[8] have not yet accepted this split

Etymology[edit]

It was named for the New Zealand ornithologist Walter Buller.

Description[edit]

Buller's albatross averages 79 cm (31 in). It has a silver-grey forehead, a grey head and throat. It has a black patch around the eyes with a white crescent behind and below the eye. Its back, upperwing, and tail are dark grey, and its rump and underparts are white. Its underwing is white with a black tip, with a broad sharply demarcated dark band at the leading edge. Its bill is large and black with yellow on the upper mandible, and the tip. The juvenile has a darker head and a brown bill.[7]

Behaviour[edit]

Reproduction[edit]

The Buller's albatross is colonial, nesting generally on cliffs, steep coastal terraces, grassy meadows, and tussock covered hills.[9] Birds in the Snares Islands also nest under trees inland.[7] The nest is mound of soil, grass and roots and is set into depressions in the breeding area. Breeding begins in December. Eggs on the Snares are laid in late January (around the 21-23 of January). incubation lasts around 60 days, with both parents sharing the responsibility. The average incubation shift is around 10 days. After hatching it takes 170 days to fledge the chick. They breed annually.[7]

Feeding[edit]

Buller's albatross feeds on squid, fish, tunicates, octopus, and crustacea.[7][10][11]

Range and habitat[edit]

Breeding population and trends[7]
Location Population Date Trend
Snares Island 8,877 pairs 1999 Increasing
Solander Islands 4,912 pairs 1999 Increasing
Forty-Fours 16,000 pairs 1998
Big Sister Island & Little Sister Island 2,130 pairs 1998
Rosemary Rock 20 pairs 1998
Total 64,000 1999 Stable

Buller's albatross is endemic to New Zealand. They breed on Snares Islands, Solander Island, Chatham Islands (Big and Little Sister and Forty-fours Island), and Three Kings Islands (Rosemary Rock). Adults forage between 40°S and 50°S from Tasmania to the Chatham Rise.[12][13][14][15][16] Juveniles and adults that aren't breeding disperse across the South Pacific with a number feeding every year in the Humboldt Current off Chile and Peru.[7][13][17][18]

Conservation[edit]

It was formerly classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN.[19] But new research has shown it to be not as rare as it was believed. Consequently, it was downlisted to near threatened status in 2008.[1] It has an occurrence range of 16,100,000 km2 (6,200,000 sq mi) and a breeding range of 4 km2 (1.5 sq mi). According to a 1999 estimate, there are 64,000 birds and there are 31,939 breeding adults. These are located as follows: 8,877 pairs on the Snares Islands, 4,912 pairs on Solander Island,[16][20] 16,000 pairs on Forty-fours Island, 2,130 pairs on Big and Little Sister, 20 pairs on Rosemary Rock in the Three Kings group.[21]

The Snares Islands population has been increasing, but lately not as much as in the 1970s,[16][20] whereas the Solander Island population which was stable from 1986 to 1955 has now shown about an 18% increase.[16] The survival rate of adults on the Snares Islands increased to 95.5%[22] and brooding success rate was 70.8%,[23] whereas on Big and Little Sister, adult survival rate is 93.5% and the brooding success rate is between 57-60%.[21]

Buller's albatross is the most common bycatch from longline fisheries out of New Zealand,[24][25] and, even though net-sonde cables were banned in 1992, squid trawlers still catch them.[18] Finally, weka Gallirallus australis was introduced to Big Sister and may take eggs and chicks.[18]

Most islands are legally protected, except for the Chatham Islands colonies which are on private land.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Thalassarche bulleri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Brands, S. (2008)
  3. ^ Double, M. C. (2003)
  4. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
  5. ^ ITIS
  6. ^ Clements, J. (2007)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g BirdLife International (2008)
  8. ^ Brooke, M. (2004)
  9. ^ Marchant, S. & Higgins, P. J. (1990)
  10. ^ James, J. D. & Stahl, J. C. (2000)
  11. ^ West, J. A. & Imber, M. G. (1986)
  12. ^ Stahl, J. C. & Sagar, P. M. (2000)(a)
  13. ^ a b Stahl, J. C. & Sagar, P. M. (2000)(b)
  14. ^ Stahl, J. C., et al. (1998)
  15. ^ BirdLife International (2004)
  16. ^ a b c d Sagar, P. M. & Stahl, J. C. (2005)
  17. ^ Spear, L. B., et al. (2003)
  18. ^ a b c Taylor, G. A. (2000)
  19. ^ Lee, James (6 Oct 2008)
  20. ^ a b Sagar, P. M., et al. (1999)
  21. ^ a b Croxall, J. P. & Gales, R. (1998)
  22. ^ Sagar, P. M., et al. (2000)
  23. ^ Sagar, P. M., et al. (2002)
  24. ^ Bartle, J. A. (1990)
  25. ^ Murray, T. E., et al. (1993)

References[edit]

  • Bartle, J. A. (1990). "Sexual segregation of foraging zones in procellariform birds: implications of accidental capture on commercial fishery longlines of Grey Petrels (Procellaria cinerea)". Notornis (37): 146–149. 
  • BirdLife International (2004). Threatened birds of the world 2004 (CD-ROM). Cambridge, U.K.: BirdLife International. 
  • BirdLife International (2008). "Bartlett's Tinamou - BirdLife Species Factsheet". Data Zone. Retrieved 18 Feb 2009. 
  • Brooke, M. (2004). "Procellariidae". Albatrosses And Petrels Across The World. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-850125-0. 
  • Clements, James (2007). The Clements Checklist of the Birds of the World (6 ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9. 
  • Croxall, J. P.; Gales, R. (1998). "Assessment of the conservation status of albatrosses". In Robertson, G.; Gales, R. Albatross biology and conservation. Chipping Norton, Australia: Surrey Beatty & Sons. 
  • Double, M. C. (2003). "Procellariiformes (Tubenosed Seabirds)". In Hutchins, Michael; Jackson, Jerome A.; Bock, Walter J. et al. Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia. 8. Birds I Tinamous and Ratites to Hoatzins. Joseph E. Trumpey, Chief Scientific Illustrator (2 ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Gale Group. pp. 107–111. ISBN 0-7876-5784-0. 
  • Ehrlich, Paul R.; Dobkin, David, S.; Wheye, Darryl (1988). The Birders Handbook (First ed.). New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. pp. 29–31. ISBN 0-671-65989-8. 
  • ITIS (2007). "ITIS Standard Report Page: Thalassarche bulleri". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 Feb 2009. 
  • James, J. D.; Stahl, J. C. (2000). "Diet of southern Buller's albatross (Diomedea bulleri bulleri) and the importance of fishery discards during chick-rearing". New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research (34): 435–454. 
  • Lee, James (6 Oct 2008). "Table 7: Species changing IUCN Red List Status" (pdf). IUCN RedList. BirdLife International. Retrieved 18 Feb 2009. [dead link]
  • Marchant, S.; Higgins, P. J. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds, 1: ratites to ducks. Melbourne, Australia: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-553068-1. 
  • Murray, T. E.; Bartle, J. A.; Kalish, S. R.; Taylor, P. R. (1993). "Incidental capture of seabirds by Japanese southern bluefin tuna longline vessels in New Zealand waters, 1988-1992". Bird Conservationalist International (3): 181–210. 
  • Sagar, P. M.; Molloy, J.; Weimerskirch, H.; Warham, J. (2000). "Temporal and age-related changes in survival rates of southern Buller's albatrosses (Thalassarche bulleri bulleri) at the Snares, New Zealand, 1948 to 1997". Auk (117): 699–708. 
  • Sagar, P. M.; Stahl, J. C. (2005). "Increases in numbers of breeding pairs in two populations of Buller's Albatross (Thalassarche bulleri bulleri)". Emu (105): 49–55. 
  • Sagar, P. M.; Stahl, J. C.; Molloy, J. (2002). "The influence of experience, pair bond duration, and partner change on breeding frequency and success in southern Buller's mollymawk (Thalassarche bulleri bulleri)". Notornis (49): 145–152. 
  • Sagar, P. M.; Stahl, J. C.; Molloy, J.; Taylor, G. A.; Tennyson, A. J. D. (1999). "Population size and trends within the two populations of Southern Buller's Albatross Diomedea bulleri bulleri". Biological Conservation (89): 11–19. 
  • Spear, L. B.; Ainley, D. G.; Webb, S. W. (2003). "Distribution, abundance and behaviour of Buller's, Chatham Island and Salvin's Albatrosses off Chile and Peru". Ibis (145): 253–269. 
  • Stahl, J. C.; Bartle, J. A.; Cheshire, N. G.; Petyt, C.; Sagar, P. M. (1998). "Distribution and movements of Buller's albatross (Diomedea bulleri) in Australasian seas". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand (25): 109–137. 
  • Stahl, J. C.; Sagar, P. M. (2000). "Foraging strategies and migration of southern Buller's albatross Diomedea b. bulleri breeding on the Solander Island, New Zealand". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand (30): 319–334. 
  • Stahl, J. C.; Sagar, P. M. (2000). "Foraging strategies of southern Buller's albatrosses Diomedea b.bulleri breeding on The Snares, New Zealand". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand (30): 299–318. 
  • Taylor, G. A. (2000). "Action plan for seabird conservation in New Zealand. Wellington: Department of Conservation". Threatened Species Occasional Publication (16). 
  • West, J. A.; Imber, M. J. (1986). "Some foods of Buller's mollymawk Diomedea bulleri". New Zealand Journal of Zoology (13): 169–174. 

External links[edit]