Conservation status Albatrosses -

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Conservation status Albatrosses

Birds > Group of birds > Albatrosses
Conservation status Albatrosses

Conservation status Albatrosses are long-lived, with delayed maturity and low reproductive output and adult mortality. This strategy ensures that only a small proportion of the population is breeding at any one time, with the remainder often in other parts of their range as adolescents or resting adult breeders. This mitigates the effects of localized disasters, but may disguise for some years any detrimental effects on populations or age groups which are more widespread.

Laysan albatross

Threats which affect breeding birds have the most immediate impact, and recorded increases in adult mortality of 1–5% have significantly affected some colonies. Of the nearly 2 million breeding pairs of albatrosses worldwide in 24 recognizable taxa, 14 have populations of less than 20,000 breeding pairs. At the most populous level, the black-browed and the black-footed albatrosses have total populations that exceed 600,000 breeding pairs. However, some of these populations are fragmented, with a third of discrete groups having fewer than 100 breeding pairs. Most species have populations where there is not enough data to determine the rate of increase or decline, but have evidence of being exposed to known threats.

The most vulnerable populations are those which are confined to one breeding locality. The high degree of philopatry of both juveniles and adults limits any ability to colonize new sites when facing adversity at their natal colony. Most factors adversely affecting populations involve human activities. However, climatic events have been seen to cause changes in habitat, which severely reduced breeding productivity in the northern royal albatross. Changing sea temperatures may also contribute to decline by changing food distribution and availability.

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