NT
Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _the_WP15.xls#.
Christidis, L. and Boles, W.E. 2008. Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
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
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2022 Near Threatened A3ce
2018 Near Threatened D2
2016 Near Threatened D2
2012 Near Threatened D2
2010 Near Threatened D2
2008 Near Threatened D2
2007 Near Threatened
2004 Not Recognised
2000 Not Recognised
1994 Not Recognised
1988 Not Recognised
Species attributes

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

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 8,800 km2 medium
Area of Occupancy (breeding/resident) 12 km2
Severely fragmented? no -
Population
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size 29800-33400, 31600 mature individuals poor estimated 2020
Population trend stable poor estimated -
Rate of change over the future 10 years/3 generations (longer of the two periods) 20-29% - - -
Generation length 20.1 years - - -
Number of subpopulations 3 - - -
Percentage of mature individuals in largest subpopulation 1-89% - - -

Population justification: The number of Shy Albatross pairs estimated to be breeding on Albatross Island was 5,150 ± 430 in 2018–2019, compared to 5,017 in 2008–2009. On Pedra Branca, 109 pairs were estimated to be breeding in in 2018–2019, compared to 130–170 pairs in 2008–2009 (DPIPWE 2019). On Mewstone, 9,988 ± 200 pairs bred in 2014–2015 (DPIPWE 2019), with 4,029 pre-fledging chicks estimated in 2018–2019, compared to 9,500 (7,600–12,400) in 2004–2005 (Alderman et al. 2011, DPIPWE unpublished). The population of this species is therefore estimated at 31,600 (29,800-33,400) mature individuals.

Trend justification: There is no evidence this species has declined over the past three generations (63 years; Bird et al. 2020). Numbers on Albatross Island declined from about 20,000 pairs in the late 18th century to 250–400 pairs in 1909 (Johnstone et al. 1975). Recovery started in the 1960s, and the 21-year trend for 1998–2018 was +0.74 ± 0.05% p.a. (DPIPWE 2019). On Pedra Branca, the 21-year trend in breeding pairs is negative (–5.9 ± 1.01% -p.a.). Due to interannual variability and the shorter time series of available data, the trend on Mewstone, based on pre-fledging counts, is currently uncertain, although appearing stable (DPIPWE 2019). Given the relative size of Albatross Island and Pedra Branca populations, the overall trend for the species appears to be stable. 
However, climate change effects are a suspected cause for future decline. Thomson et al. (2015) predicted a decline in the number of breeding females in the Albatross Island subpopulation of over 30% in three generations due to climate change effects, however discrepancies exist between the model’s predictions and the most recent empirical data. Thus while a future decline is suspected, there is uncertainty about when a decline may commence and consequently any rate of reduction. Breeding success of the Albatross Island population is also negatively affected by Avian pox virus (R. Woods and R. Gales in litt. 2008) and a phlebovirus carried by a tick Ixodes eudyptidis (Johnstone et al. 1975, Wang et al. 2014), while the small population breeding on Pedra Branca is being competitively excluded by Australasian Gannets Morus serrator. Overall, low breeding success on Pedra Branca and indications of decreased juvenile recruitment on Albatross Island suggest steep declines exceeding 20% are plausible in the next three generations (Garnett and Baker 2021).


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Angola extant uncertain
Argentina extant uncertain
Australia extant native yes
Brazil extant uncertain
Chile extant uncertain
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) extant uncertain
French Southern Territories extant uncertain
Heard Island and McDonald Islands (to Australia) extant uncertain
Madagascar extant uncertain
Mauritius extant uncertain
Mozambique extant uncertain
Namibia extant uncertain
New Zealand extant native yes
Norfolk Island (to Australia) extant uncertain
Peru extant uncertain
Réunion (to France) extant uncertain
South Africa extant native yes
South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands extant uncertain
St Helena (to UK) extant uncertain
Uruguay extant uncertain

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Australia Mewstone
Australia Pedra Branca
Australia Albatross Island and Black Pyramid Rock

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Subantarctic major breeding
Grassland Temperate major breeding
Marine Coastal/Supratidal Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands major breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Macroalgal/Kelp suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major non-breeding
Marine Neritic Pelagic major breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Seagrass (Submerged) suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Loose Rock/pebble/gravel suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Rock and Rocky Reefs suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable non-breeding
Marine Neritic Subtidal Sandy-Mud suitable breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major breeding
Marine Oceanic Epipelagic (0-200m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) major non-breeding
Marine Oceanic Mesopelagic (200-1000m) 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%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Climate change & severe weather Storms & flooding 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 Problematic native species/diseases - Morus serrator Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Competition, Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Avipoxvirus Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Reduced reproductive success
Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases Viral/prion-induced diseases - Unspecified species Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Negligible declines Low Impact: 4
Stresses
Species mortality

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Thalassarche cauta. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/shy-albatross-thalassarche-cauta on 05/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 05/03/2024.