Satellite tracking of wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) in the South Atlantic

The movements of two wandering albatrosses, one of each sex, breeding at South Georgia, were tracked using satellite telemetry, particularly to assess whether such birds could be at risk from longline fishing operations in the subtropics. Full details of the performance (number and quality of uplinks) of the Toyocom transmitters are provided, together with data on flight speeds and night and daytime travel by the albatrosses. The female, tracked for seventeen days—covering three foraging trips totalling 13951 km - had a much more northerly distribution than the male, which made two trips to sea during the same period and travelled a minimum distance of 9280 km. On one trip the female frequented the area off Brazil known to be used for longline fisheries. The distributional differences between the sexes support earlier suggestions, based on at-sea observations, that the observed high mortality rates of South Georgian females could be due to a greater likelihood of incidental mortality in longline fishing. These results also show that the presence of females off Brazil can include birds still rearing chicks, rather than simply representing post-breeding dispersal.


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Authors: Prince, P.A., Wood, A.G., Barton, T., Croxall, J.P.

1 March, 1992
Antarctic Science / 4
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