EN
Northern Royal Albatross Diomedea sanfordi



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
Brooke, M. de L. 2004. Albatrosses and Petrels Across the World. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
Robertson, C. J. R.; Nunn, G. B. 1998. Towards a new taxonomy for albatrosses. In: Robertson, G.; Gales, R. (ed.), Albatross biology and conservation, pp. 13-19. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, Australia.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- A4bc; B2ab(iii,v) A4bc; B2ab(iii,v); D2

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Endangered A4bc; B2ab(iii,v)
2016 Endangered A4bc; B2ab(iii,v)
2013 Endangered A4bc;B2ab(iii,v)
2012 Endangered A4bc;B2ab(iii,v)
2010 Endangered A4b,c; B2a+b(iii,v)
2008 Endangered A4b,c,d; B2a+b(iii,v)
2007 Endangered
2005 Endangered
2004 Endangered
2003 Endangered
2000 Endangered
1994 Not Recognised
1988 Not Recognised
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -
Extent of occurrence (EOO)

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 115,000,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 56,500,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 8 medium
Number of locations 3-5 -
Fragmentation -
Population and trend
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 17000 medium estimated 1991
Population trend Decreasing medium estimated -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) 50-79 - - -
Number of subpopulations 3 - - -
Largest subpopulations 95-99 - - -
Generation length (yrs) 27 - - -

Population justification:

The largest population (99%) is on the Chatham Islands, with 1% of the population on Taiaroa Head, on the mainland of South Island, New Zealand. There has not been a successful run of annual photographs over the past 8 years to enable updated estimates of the breeding population of this biennial breeder (C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008). However, air photographic counts on the Chatham Islands in the 1970s (1972-1975) and 1990s (1989-1991) recorded a total of 6,500-7,000 total breeding pairs. The number of pairs breeding each year was estimated as 5,200 pairs, based on a count in 1995. This is equivalent to a total population of 17,000 mature individuals. A count in 2002 recorded 5,800 pairs on the Chatham Islands (counted at the end of egg laying), with a probable 1,700 pairs on sabbatical after breeding in the previous season (C. J. R. Robertson in litt. 2008). However, since the estimate of 17,000 mature individuals is based on data from multiple years, this is the estimate used here. It roughly equates to 25,000-26,000 individuals in total. Around 35 pairs breed each year at Taiaroa Head, including five hybrids (descended from cross with female Southern Royal Albatross D. epomophora). Two individuals of D. sanfordi, both breeding with D. epomophora partners, have been recorded on Enderby Island.

Trend justification: Low annual productivity produces a projected population decline in this species. More recent data, from 1995 and 2003, point to a possible recent increase in population, but methods are not sufficiently comparable for any meaningful interpretation regarding population trends, and a very rapid ongoing population decline is precautionarily retained here.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Antarctica U Extant
Argentina N Extant Yes Yes
Australia N Extant Yes Yes
Bouvet Island (to Norway) U Extant
Brazil N Extant Yes Yes
Chile N Extant Yes Yes
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) N Extant Yes Yes
French Southern Territories N Extant Yes Yes
Heard Island and McDonald Islands (to Australia) N Extant Yes
New Zealand N Extant Yes
South Africa N Extant Yes Yes
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands N Extant Yes Yes
St Helena (to UK) N Extant Yes
Uruguay N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
New Zealand Taiaroa Head
Uruguay Atlantic Ocean and Rio de la Plata mouth
Chile Valparaiso - pelagico
Chile San Antonio - Cañón submarino
New Zealand North Eastern North Island (offshore)
New Zealand Chatham Islands
New Zealand Otago Peninsula (Taiaroa Head)
New Zealand Forty Fours Motuhara
New Zealand Fiordland - West Coast South Island (South) (offshore)
New Zealand Chatham (offshore)
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Atlantic, Southwest 13 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 14 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 45 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 17 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 18 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 20 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 26 - Marine
Argentina Atlantic, Southwest 27 - Marine
Chile Pacific, Southeast 5 - Marine
Chile Isla Guafo / Isla Mocha / Isla Pajaro Nino - Marine
New Zealand Pacific, Southwest 41 - Marine
New Zealand Pacific, Southwest 42 - Marine
New Zealand Pacific, Southwest 44 - Marine
New Zealand Pacific, Southwest 45 - Marine
New Zealand Pacific, Southwest 53 - Marine
New Zealand Pacific, Southwest 56 - Marine
New Zealand The Sisters Rangitatahi
New Zealand The Forty Fours/Motuhara
New Zealand Cook Strait
New Zealand East Coast South Island (offshore)
New Zealand Canterbury (offshore)
New Zealand Dunedin Coast (offshore)
Argentina Talud Patagonia Norte
Argentina Talud Agujero Azul
New Zealand Southern South Island (offshore)
New Zealand Rakiura (offshore)
New Zealand Chatham Islands (nearshore)

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subantarctic major breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Altitude   Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Majority (50-90%) Negligible declines Past Impact
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Likely to Return Majority (50-90%) Rapid Declines Past Impact
Stresses
Ecosystem degradation, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Felis catus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Past Impact
Stresses
Species mortality
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Lucilia sericata Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - Mustela erminea Timing Scope Severity Impact
Past, Unlikely to Return Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Past Impact
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success, Species mortality

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Diomedea sanfordi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/02/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/02/2021.