WatchList Species Account for Black-footed Albatross (Diomedea nigripes)

Qualifies for the list as a Hawaii and Continental Red List Species

 

Photo: Clipart.com

The only albatross to occur regularly off the Pacific coast of North America, the Black-footed Albatross nests on undisturbed sandy shores of remote beaches in the Hawaiian Islands and a few sites in the Japanese islands and then wanders widely from the Aleutians south throughout the northern and central Pacific. Its movements during the nonbreeding season reflect food distribution and wind. For nesting it prefers sandy habitat close to the beach. It feeds on fish, fish eggs, squid, and crustaceans.A long-lived species, it lays one egg a year.With about 280,000 individuals, its largest colony is on Laysan Island, with 14,000 to 21,000 pairs.

 

Oil pollution, drift nets, and longlines are threats to the bird, the latter particularly since the bird often scavenges behind ships. This may account for the fact that counts of nesting birds declined by 19% between 1995 and 2000, since longline fisheries were killing an estimated 4,500 of the species a year. Driftnet fisheries have been stopped as have long-line fisheries for swordfish in Hawaii because of their depredations on birds and other non-target species. New devices on longlines seem to be reducing seabird deaths as a result of the fishing industry.