Another Poor Breeding Season for Tristan Albatross on Gough Island

Island Conservation partners, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), recently completed an annual census of native Tristan Albatross on Gough Island and the results are grim.

By: Dr. Steffen Oppel, RSPB Senior Conservation Scientist

The life of an albatross chick between the time when it hatches from the egg until it can eventually fly away isn’t particularly glorious. Hunkered down between wet grass on windswept islands in the southern oceans these chicks have to wait for their feathers to grow. They have to endure gale-force winds and driving rain, hail, and snow, and wait… not for a few days or weeks, but roughly for 8-9 months.

Sadly, many chicks do not survive that long.


One of the survivors. A 5-month old Tristan Albatross chick begging for food (S.Oppel)

The inclement weather, however, isn’t the main culprit for dying Tristan albatross chicks on Gough Island in the South Atlantic. Invasive mice that were introduced by sailors have gradually learned to eat albatross chicks that are too young to to fly or run away. Every year, hundreds of albatross chicks are killed and eaten by mice.

The annual count of albatross chicks

Finding out just how many chicks survive every year is a key task of the Gough Island team. Twice each year, in January and September, the team hikes around the island and counts all Tristan albatrosses. In January adult birds are incubating eggs, and in September large chicks are counted. By comparing with January’s egg count, this provides data on the year’s success rate.


The RSPB team on a ridge, scanning the valley below for surviving albatross chicks (S.Oppel)

Tristan albatrosses breed in the upland valleys of Gough Island, and a census therefore requires extensive travel across mountainous and boggy terrain far away from any established trails. Because the weather on Gough can change rapidly, the team always carries survival gear to sit out ferocious storms in some remote valley.

Depressing results from the count in September 2018

After a glorious day on the 18th of September, when the team enjoyed blue skies and calm winds, it became apparent that 2018 was again a dismal year for albatross chicks. In valleys where dozens of albatrosses had been incubating eggs in February, only a handful of chicks remained.


RSPB team hiking into the valley in which 43 chicks survived out of 146 nests (S.Oppel)

After a short break due to rain, strong winds, and thick clouds that rendered any survey impossible, the team resumed the surveys and completed a count of all surviving albatross chicks on the 26th of September. The results were bitter, and highlight how urgent mice need to be removed from Gough Island:

Out of 1453 nests counted in February, only 309 chicks (21%) survived until late September.

As long as 4 out of 5 Tristan albatross chicks perish before they have a chance to leave Gough Island, the decline of this Critically Endangered species is set to continue.

Featured photo: Species: A Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross (Diomedea dabbenena) chick. Credit: Tristan da Cunha
Originally printed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 64 islands worldwide, benefiting 1195 populations of 487 species and subspecies. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species.

View All Posts

Follow Island Conservation on Social Media

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

Midway Atoll conservation




%d bloggers like this:
Send this to a friend

best cbd oil for pain amazon calming cbd oil cbd laws by state free cbd oil trials cbd and meditation does cbd work for depression cbd crystals under tongue cbd oil for teething symmetry cbd oil green gorilla cbd oil for pets cheeba chew cbd whole foods market cbd cbd oil for basal cell carcinoma cbd pouches edens herbals cbd who is element cbd oil llc accom in sydney cbd pebbles cbd oil review pharma hemp cbd is cbd legal in north dakota cbd paste for sale royalty free cbd images cbd drops for sale fda and cbd oil charlottes web cbd gummies cbd oil stores is cbd good for your skin cbd cookie dinamed cbd plus is cbd oil safe for drug testing 5mg cbd gummies cbd clinic pro sport pain stick cbd oil vs hemp seeds is cbd oil used topically effective 2 dollar shops in melbourne cbd certified cbd oil distributors does cvs have cbd oil david g cbd charlottes web cbd strain cbd dab crystals where to buy cbd oil online reddit are cbd oils legal cbd oil drug blue koi cbd does kaiser prescribe cbd oil how much cbd oil in one day 500mg cbd hemp oil ehat is cbd will cbd oil help toothache dea statement on cbd 2020 cbd oil recreational use cbd coffee shop houston sera labs cbd oil review cbd oil for rats debbie ducommon

weight loss detox pills diet doctor weight loss clinics great weight loss pills that work fast keto diet drinks recipes top weight loss diet pills chocolate diet for weight loss wellbutrin and weight loss drug 7 types of diets weight loss best ultra keto diet pills 2020 vegetarian diet menu for weight loss keto diet pills woolworths low carb diet slow weight loss best weight loss tablets on the market indian vegetarian weight loss diet rujuta divekar keto recipes for dukan diet good supplements for weight loss and muscle gain diet to reduce cholesterol and lose weight does any weight loss supplement work best weight loss pill to lose fast weight loss supplement drink health diets to lose weight but feel full top 10 illegal weight loss pills how to lose weight with plant based diet weight loss pills cosmo ramen diet for weight loss what pills did nutrisystem use for weight loss pro image weight loss pills weight loss best food for diet can military personnel take weight loss pills adam richman weight loss diet can i take vitamins and weight loss pills diet and weight loss reports birth control pills weight loss pills what are some diets to lose weight fast healthline weight loss diet make your own weight loss pills man weight loss diet best pills to lose weight and boost metabolism best weight loss diet for senior citizens information on low carb diet for weight loss what is best diet following weight loss surgery what are the most good weight loss pills good diet programs for weight loss non diet weight loss book how much nuts can i eat raw diet for weight loss i need a good diet plan to lose weight fast how to lose weight from progesterone pills are there pills that help you lose weight pills that help you lose weight fasr linda weight loss pills reviews pills that help me lose weight weight loss pills that are safe and work banned weight loss tablets weight loss supplement free trial

best male enhancement the commercial for male enhancement me 36 pill cheap erectile dysfunction pills male enhancement coach review rhino stamina pills extenze male enhancement formula natural male enhancement creme what male enhancement makes you bigger hard 10days sex pills natural permanent male enhancement all male enhancement products male enhancement pictures results best sex pills over the counter fast tornado male enhancement male enhancement companies titan male enhancement pill reviews does enlargement pills work dominator male enhancement pills green pill e 7 rife penis enlargement can men on antidepressants take ed pills free ways to enlarge penis supervir penis enlargement oil ed treatment pills sean hannity ed pills little blue pill with an a on it what is get the red male enhancement pills sex medicine for men butt growth supplements how much does stendra cost per pill what color is viagra tablets 20 mg pill pill lock box buy cialis pills ingles male enhancement citrulline tablets healthsource penis pills erectile dysfunction dietary supplement trinoxid male enhancement blacks male enhancement pills where can i buy me 36 male enhancement pills names of penis enlargement pills list what are the side effects of viagra pills penis enlargement and tricare big blue pill penis pills the enlage fast pills for enlargement of pennis ptx sex pills male enhancement veggie strips alibaba tablets male enhancement inhaler what is the best male enhancement pill yahoo edox supplement