Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

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World Albatross Day 2020 Photography Competition: Winner and Runners-up chosen


Black-browed Albatross, winning photograph by Rodrigo Tapia Jimenez

The Photography Competition “Albatrosses, their World and Threats” organized as part of the celebrations of World Albatross Day (WAD2020) was well received, with 360 photographs from 91 photographers submitted from all over the world.

Really beautiful and stunning images were submitted.  We appreciate the participation of everyone who shared their photographs and so helped increase awareness of the threats facing albatrosses.

The jury, consisting of Christine Bogle, Pablo Cáceres, Marco Favero, Jim Hurst, Veronica López, Rodrigo Moraga, Tatiana Neves and Michelle Risi, had the difficult task of selecting 20 short-listed images which subsequently went to popular vote via WAD’s Instagram page.  Finally, of the three most highly voted photographs by the public, the jury defined 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, as given below:

1st Place:  Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris, Drake Passage by Rodrigo Tapia Jimenez @rodrigotapiawildlifephoto

Opinions of the judges:
"By far, this is the one I like most because I think represents in a very best way the life, the habitat, and freedom of the albatross.  As well a very awesome point of view and beautiful light and colours.  Also an excellent description".
"The first-place photo is what I've always wanted to see of an albatross life, what it's like to live and move through the windy oceans. This was also the most difficult shot to get”

++Second Place Eduardo Navarro Shy Albatross

2nd Place:  Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche salvini, Valparaiso, Chile by Eduardo Navarro @edonavarroce

Opinions of the judges:
"Perfect moment. Beautiful bird, beautiful light, beautiful colours.  Such a nice reflection.  And a very good text as well"

Third Place Rodrigo Ortega Shy Albatross

3rd Place:  Salvin’s Albatross Thalassarche salvini, Quintero, Chile by Rodrigo Ortega

Opinion of the judges
"Special moment, good pose and capture"


El Concurso de Fotografía Albatros, su mundo y sus amenazasorganizado como parte de las celebraciones del Día Mundial de los Albatros (WAD2020), tuvo una importante participación recibiendo 360 fotos, de 91 fotógrafos de todas partes del mundo.

Llegaron imágenes realmente hermosas e impresionantes. Agradecemos la participación de todos los que compartieron sus fotografías y ayudaron a divulgar la información y el conocimiento de los albatros.

El jurado, integrado por Christine Bogle, Pablo Cáceres, Marco Favero, Jim Hurst, Veronica López, Rodrigo Moraga, Tatiana Neves and Michelle Risi tuvo la difícil misión de seleccionar las 20 imágenes finalistas del concurso, las que posteriormente pasaron a votación popular en el instagram del WAD.

Finalmente, de entre las 3 fotografías más votadas por el público, el jurado definió al 1º, 2º y 3º lugar, los que fueron los siguientes:

1º Lugar: Albatros de ceja negra Thalassarche melanophris, Paso Drake por Rodrigo Tapia Jimenez @rodrigotapiawildlifephoto

Opiniones del jurado:

"By far, this is the one I like most because I think represent in a very best way the life, the habitat, and freedom of the albatross. As well a very awesome point of view and beautiful light and colours.  Also an excellent description".

"The first-place photo is what I´ve always wanted to see of an albatross´s life, what it´s like to live and move through the windy oceans. This was also the most difficult shot to get"

2ª Lugar:  Albatros de Salvin Thalassarche salvini, Valparaíso, Chile por Eduardo Navarro @edonavarroce

Opiniones del jurado:

"Perfect moment. Beautiful bird, beautiful light, beautiful colours. Such a nice reflection.  And a very good text as well"

3º Lugar: Albatros de Salvin Thalassarche salvini, Quintero, Chile por Rodrigo Ortega

Opiniones del jurado

"Special moment, good pose and capture"

Pablo Cáceres & Verónica López, Oikonos Foundation, Chile, 23 July 2020

Another casualty of COVID-19: New Zealand’s Auckland Island pest eradication project gets put on hold

Auckland Island pig Pete McClelland 

Feral pigs on Auckland Island can kill White-capped Albatross Thalassarche steadi chicks, photograph by Pete McClelland

The Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island project has been halted by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation until further funding can be secured.  However, the project will still complete the feasibility study and draft operational plans this year for the eradication of the island’s feral pigs and cats and House Mice (click here).

The COVID-19 pandemic has largely stopped international travel round the world and New Zealand is no exception to this, with no incoming tourists.  This will affect income for the eradication project from the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy.  In addition, half the project’s funding is expected to come from donors, some of whom will be struggling financially, leading to the decision by the Department of Conservation to call a pause.

This setback, not the only one, has come in the year when the inaugural World Albatross Day on 19 June had the theme “Eradicating Island Pests”.  Earlier, both the Gough Island and Midway Atoll mouse eradication projects were postponed until at least next year due to travel restrictions as a consequence of the pandemic.  On South Africa’s sub-Antarctic Marion Island all field work has been halted due to virus concerns, causing a break in decades-long monitoring of the island’s albatrosses and giant petrels.  Planning and fund-raising towards eradicating Marion’s mice over the next few years is also likely to be slowed.  Back in New Zealand field work on nominate  Antipodean Albatrosses Diomedea a. antipodensis on Antipodes Island came to a premature halt when the field team was evacuated early.

With the chance of field work and eradication projects getting going again on albatross islands next year perhaps ‘WAD2021’ needs to repeat the inaugural theme?

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 22 July 2020

Lack of temporal trend over 17 years in the trophic level of Cory’s Shearwaters suggests a stable food web

Corys Shearwater in flight 

Cory's Shearwater in flight

Raül Ramos (Institute for Research on Biodiversity (IRBIO) Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain) and colleagues have published in the journal Ecological Indicators on the presumed stability in trophic level over time in Cory’s Shearwaters Calonectris borealis based on feather analysis.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Despite its importance for ecology and conservation, we are still far from understanding how environmental variability interacts with intrinsic factors and individual specialization to determine trophic strategies of long-lived taxa, mostly due to difficulties in studying the same animals over extended periods. Here, by yearly consistently sampling the first primary feather of 99 Cory’s shearwaters (Calonectris borealis) foraging in the Canary Current (CC) upwelling ecosystem, we provide robust evidence on the individual changes of isotopic ratios of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) over 17 years. We reported a slight longitudinal decline of δ13C values throughout 2001–2017, even after being adjusted for the marine Suess effect (linked to the increasing CO2 emissions). Although CC is often considered to be overexploited by industrial fisheries, we could not detect a decline in Cory’s shearwater trophic level indicating a change in the trophic web structuring, as revealed by δ15N. We found negative correlations of δ13C and δ15N with the CC upwelling intensity, indicating annual variability in baseline isotopic levels propagates through the food chain and it integrates in predators’ tissues. Low individual repeatabilities among years at population level indicates low long-term specialization, suggesting long-lived individuals foraging on highly productive areas can adjust their foraging strategies and diet according to environmental variability. However, individual-level repeatabilities in isotopic values showed a range of individual specialization within the population, indicating most individuals are generalist and a few of them highly specialized. First, although we found a clear influence of the upwelling intensity on the trophic ecology of birds, we could not detect any temporal trend in the trophic level of the Cory’s shearwater population, suggesting a stability in the structure of the pelagic food web of the CC over the last two decades despite the fishing pressure. Second, the existence of individual specialization highlights the importance of considering the repeated sampling of individuals to detect small changes in the trophic ecology of a population. Finally, the coexistence of individuals with different degree of specialization (from extremely flexible [generalists] to highly consistent individuals [specialists]) within a population can have deep implications on the capacity of populations to cope with environmental change.”


Ramos, R., Reyes-González, J.M., Morera-Pujol, V., Zajková, Z. & Militão, T. 2020.  Disentangling environmental from individual factors in isotopic ecology: a 17-year longitudinal study in a long-lived seabird exploiting the Canary Current.  Ecological Indicators 111.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 21 July 2020

Book review. Rehabilitation of procellariiform seabirds in Brazil, a manual in Portuguese


This book is a thorough introduction to the complex task of rehabilitating procellariiform seabirds written by world experts in the field of seabird medicine and rehabilitation.  It was written for use in Brazil and is only available in Portuguese; however, the content is universally applicable.  Rehabilitation of albatrosses, petrels and other procellariiform seabirds is a difficult task that requires exceptional skill and specialised techniques and equipment.  This publication documents the most successful techniques learned by rehabilitation centres around the world.  Veterinary care and stabilisation, correct hosing and enclosures for these birds, handling and transport, feeding, swimming and safe release are just some of the important topics covered.  This publication will go a long way towards making procellariiform rehabilitation more professional and improving the number of birds that are successfully released after rehabilitation.  I hope that the authors secure funding for English and Spanish translations in the near future.

The book’s chapter headings follow in Portuguese with English translations in parentheses:

1. INTRODUÇÃO (Introduction)

2. BIOLOGIA GERAL E ESPÉCIES COM OCORRÊNCIA NO BRASIL (General biology and species occurring in Brazil)

3. AMEAÇAS À CONSERVAÇÃO DOS PROCELLARIIFORMES NO BRASIL (Threats to the conservation of procellariiforms in Brazil)

4. INSTALAÇÕES E RECINTOS (Facilities and enclosures)

5. BIOSSEGURANÇA E USO DE EQUIPAMENTOS DE PROTEÇÃO INDIVIDUAL (Biosafety and use of personal protective equipment)

6. CONTENÇÃO FÍSICA, ESTABILIZAÇÃO EM CAMPO E TRANSPORTE (Physical containment, field stabilization and transportation)

7. ADMISSÃO E EXAME FÍSICO (Admission and physical examination)

8. ASPECTOS GERAIS DE MEDICINA E REABILITAÇÃO (General aspects of medicine and rehabilitation)

9. REABILITAÇÃO DE PROCELLARIIFORMES OLEADOS (Rehabilitation of oiled procellariiforms)

10. DEVOLUÇÃO À NATUREZA (SOLTURA) (Return to nature (release))

11. EUTANÁSIA (Euthanasia)

12. BIOMETRIA, COLHEITA DE AMOSTRAS BIOLÓGICAS E NECROPSIA (Biometrics, collection of biological samples and necropsy

13. DOCUMENTAÇÃO E FOTODOCUMENTAÇÃO (Documentation and photo-documentation)


15. CONSIDERAÇÕES DE BIOSSEGURANÇA PARA ATIVIDADES DE CAMPO (Biosafety considerations for field activities)

With thanks to Patricia Pereira Serafini.


Hurtado, R., Saviolli, J.Y. & Vanstreels, R.E.T. (Eds) 2020.  Reabilitação de Procellariiformes: (albatrozes, petréis, pardelas).  Santos, Brazil: Editora Comunnicar.  111 pp.  Many illustrations in colour.  Published electronically.  ISBN 978-85-8136-138-3.

David Roberts, Clinical Veterinarian, Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), 20 July 2020

Going the other way: migration route of New World Manx Shearwaters

Manx shearwater Nathan Fletcher s 

Manx Shearwater at sea, photograph by Nathan Fletcher

Annette Fayet (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK) and colleagues have published online in the open-access journal Marine Ornithology on the migration route of western Atlantic Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus.

The paper’s abstract follows:

“Manx Shearwaters are transequatorial migrants, and most of the world's population breeds in Britain and winters off the Patagonian Shelf in the western South Atlantic.  The migration route of British birds follows a well-known clockwise movement between the North and South Atlantic, taking advantage of the winds.  Whether this main Manx Shearwater migration corridor is used by the smaller populations breeding in the western North Atlantic is unknown.  Here, we report our findings from tracking two adults from a newly-established colony of Manx Shearwaters in Maine, USA using miniature geolocators.  The tracked shearwaters followed a post-breeding migration route southward along the US East Coast, through the Caribbean Sea, and along the coast of eastern South America.  Such a route greatly differs from the western North Atlantic birds' southbound migration route, being instead the reverse of the British birds' spring migration route.  We also used the tracking data to provide insight into the phenology of the birds' annual cycle.  Although our sample size is very small, our findings reveal a previously unknown migration route of Manx Shearwaters and raise questions about the origin of birds on western North Atlantic colonies and the mechanisms controlling migratory direction in the species.”


Fayet, A.L., Shannon, P., Lyons, D.E. & Kress, S.W. 2020.  Manx shearwaters Puffinus puffinus breeding in the western Atlantic follow a different migration route from their eastern Atlantic conspecifics.  Marine Ornithology 48: 179-183.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 17 July 2020