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Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria Albatrus)

Technical Summary

Phoebastria albatrus

Short-tailed Albatross

Albatros à queue courte

British Columbia/Pacific Ocean

Extent and Area Information

Extent of occurrence (EO) (km2)
(area of Canadian Pacific coastal waters)
423 260 km2
Specify trend (decline, stable, increasing, unknown)stable
Are there extreme fluctuations in EO (> 1 order of magnitude)?unlikely
Area of occupancy (AO) (km2)
(area of Canadian Pacific coastal waters)
423 260 km2
Specify trend (decline, stable, increasing, unknown)stable
Are there extreme fluctuations in AO (> 1 order magnitude)?No
Number of known or inferred current locationsn.a.
Specify trend in # locations (decline, stable, increasing, unknown)n.a.
Are there extreme fluctuations in # locations (>1 order of magnitude)?n.a.
Specify trend in area, extent or quality of habitatstable

Population Information

Generation time
(average age of parents in the population)
26 years
Number of mature individuals614 in world, about 50 are estimated to use Canadian waters annually
Total population trenddeclined from 5 million birds to near extinction (<400 birds, 99.99%) early 20th century, now steadily increasing
% decline over the last/next 10 years or 3 generationsn.a.
Are there extreme fluctuations in number of mature individuals?no
Is the total population severely fragmented?no
Specify trend in number of populationsn.a.
Are there extreme fluctuations in number  of populations?n.a.
List populations with number of mature individuals in eachn.a.

Threats (actual or imminent threats to populations or habitats)

- incidental mortality in the longline fishery
- mortality in association with oil spills
- on the breeding grounds the major threat is from volcanic eruptions
- previously hunted to near extinction early in 20th Century

Rescue Effect (immigration from an outside source): n.a.

Status of outside population(s)?
USA: Endangered
Alaska: Endangered
CITES: Appendix 1
World Conservation Union: Vulnerable
Is immigration known or possible?n.a.
Would immigrants be adapted to survive in Canada? 
Is there sufficient habitat for immigrants in Canada? 
Is rescue from outside populations likely?n.a.

Quantitative Analysis


Current Status

COSEWIC: has not been previously assessed

Status and Reason for Designation

Criteria met: D1+2
Reason for designation:
This species was once an abundant seabird along the coast of BC but its numbers declined to near extinction in early 20th Century. Numbers are now slowly increasing. Albatross populations in general are very sensitive to incidental catch by commercial fisheries and oil spills; while these impacts have not been documented for this species in Canadian waters, they pose a significant potential threat.

Applicability of Criteria

Criterion A (Declining Total Population):
Not applicable; population declined catastrophically 100 years ago, but began increasing about 50 years (2 generations ago).
Criterion B (Small Distribution, and Decline or Fluctuation):
Not applicable; there is a small distribution in terms of breeding sites, but population is now increasing after catastrophic decline 100 years ago.
Criterion C (Small Total Population Size and Decline):
Not applicable; population did decline to very few individuals 50 – 100 years ago, but is now increasing.
Criterion D (Very Small Population or Restricted Distribution):
Meets D1 and D2 criteria for Threatened (less than 1000 breeding individuals at less than 5 sites)
Criterion E (Quantitative Analysis):
None done.