July 2017
Read more about the census and population study of Antipodean wandering albatross on Antipodes Island in 2017.

This report was prepared by Albatross Research and did not form a part of the Conservation Services Programme. 


Antipodean wandering albatrosses have been monitored since 1994. They increased in abundance between 1994 and 2004 about 6.3% per annum, but since 2004 have declined: males at 5% per annum and females at 11%. Coincident with this decline there has been a reduction in nesting success. At the current rate of decline there will be only 205 pairs of Antipodean wandering albatrosses in 28 years. 

The rapid drop in numbers has been caused by high mortality, particularly among females. The most likely cause for the decline is change in ocean conditions which has led to lower nesting success and birds foraging in areas with a higher fisheries bycatch risk than before. 

A comparison of satellite tracking before 2004 and geolocator tracking after 2004 indicates a dramatic shift in the foraging range of females. They now often forage to the north-east of New Zealand and in two areas off the South American coast: near Juan Fernandez Islands and close to the south Chilean coast. Since males visit the Juan Fernandez and north-east New Zealand areas only rarely, and since they have much higher survivorship it seems possible the high female mortality might be happening in these two areas.

Understanding the causes of and solutions to the high female mortality is urgently required as the high and sustained rate of decline has put this species into New Zealand’s “Nationally Critical” conservation status category.

Publication information

Elliot, G. & Walker, K. 2017. Antipodean wandering albatross census and population study 2017. 13 p.


Conservation Services Programme
Department of Conservation
PO Box 10-420
Wellington 6143


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