Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Catching up with Wisdom: the oldest known albatrosses and petrels on Bird Island, South Atlantic

Grey headed Albatross Stephanie Prince Grisselle Chock shrunk

Grey-headed Albatross No. 1425643, painted by Grisselle Chock for Artists and Biologists Unite for Nature (ABUN) from the photograph below

Albatross and petrel studies have continued for another year at Bird Island, South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)*, adding to long-term datasets held by the British Antarctic Survey.  Previous ACAP Latest News postings on Wisdom the female Laysan Albatross Phoebastria immutabilis of Midway Atoll, who reached the ripe old age of at least 69 this year, prompted the obvious question “which are the oldest birds on Bird Island?”.  A check of demography and ringing recovery databases generated the following information on the oldest birds ringed on the island as chicks.

Species

Source

Ring No.

First year recorded

Last year recorded

Age

Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris

Demography studies

1318916

1961

2018

57

Grey-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma

Demography studies

1425643

1959

2019

60

Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans

Demography studies

5054645

1962

2019

57

Northern Giant Petrel Macronectes halli

Ring recovery

2860107

1961

2004

43

Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus

Ring recovery

5223985

1974

2014

41

The initial ringing effort of Lance Tickell and colleagues in the late 1950s and early 1960s is clearly in evidence.  Although there are currently sixty-year old birds on the island, only time will tell whether these longevity records are broken.

oldest gha Steph Prince shrunk

Grey-headed Albatross No. 1425643, photograph taken six years ago by Stephanie Prince, who has identified it as a male

Read an earlier ALN post on Grey-headed Albatross No. 1425643 now six years older, and still the oldest known bird on Bird Island.

Andy Wood, British Antarctic Survey, Cambridge, UK, 26 February 2020

*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.

DMC Firewall is developed by Dean Marshall Consultancy Ltd