Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus


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
- - D2

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2018 Vulnerable D2
2016 Vulnerable D2
2012 Vulnerable D2
2010 Vulnerable D2
2008 Vulnerable D2
2006 Vulnerable
2005 Vulnerable
2004 Vulnerable
2003 Vulnerable
2000 Vulnerable
1994 Endangered
1988 Threatened
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 53,700,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 47,300,000 medium
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 9 medium
Number of locations 2 -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 1734 medium estimated 2014
Population trend increasing good 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) 80-100 - - -
Number of subpopulations 2 - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 24.1 - - -

Population justification:

At the end of the 2013-2014 breeding season, the global population was estimated to be 4,200 individuals, with 3,540 birds on Torishima, 650 birds on the two islands in the East China Sea and 10 birds on Ogasawara Islands. Eda et al. (2012) showed that two populations of Phoebastria albatrus existed about 1,000 years ago and suggested that descendants of each population have segregated breeding colonies on Torishima and on the two islands in the East China Sea. The sequence divergence between the two clades is greater than between other Diomedeidae sister species (Eda and Higuchi 2012). The trend of assortative mating was indicated among birds from the Torishima and the two islands in the East China Sea (Eda et al. 2016).

Trend justification: In 1954, 25 birds (including at least six pairs) were present on Torishima. Given that there are now 609 breeding pairs on Torishima (H. Hasegawa in litt. 2014), the species has undergone an enormous increase since its rediscovery and the onset of conservation efforts.

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Canada extant native yes yes
China (mainland) extant native
Japan extant native yes yes
Mexico extant native
Northern Mariana Islands (to USA) extant uncertain
Philippines extant uncertain
Russia extant native yes yes
Russia (Asian) extant native yes yes
South Korea extant native
Taiwan, China extant native yes yes
United States Minor Outlying Islands (to USA) extant native yes yes
USA extant native yes yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Japan Futagojima islets 1 - Marine
Japan Futagojima islets 2 - Marine
Japan Pacific, Northwest 2 - Marine
Japan Senkaku islands
Japan Senkaku islands - Marine
Japan Torishima island
Japan Torishima island - Marine
Russia (Asian) Commander Islands
Russia (Asian) Lesser Kuril Ridge and Kunashir Island
Russia (Asian) Navarin Canyon
Russia (Asian) Pacific, Northwest 4 - Marine

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Oceanic Abyssopelagic (4000-6000m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Bathypelagic (1000-4000m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Altitude 0 - 150 m 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%) Slow, Significant Declines Medium Impact: 6
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%) Very Rapid Declines Past Impact
Species mortality
Geological events Volcanoes Timing Scope Severity Impact
Future Majority (50-90%) Very Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Food - human - - non-trivial recent
Handicrafts, jewellery, etc. - - international non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Phoebastria albatrus. Downloaded from on 09/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 09/06/2023.