Status and distribution of wandering, black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses breeding at South Georgia
Long-term studies at Bird Island, South Georgia, show that numbers of wandering, black-browed and grey-headed albatrosses have been decreasing since the late 1970s. To determine the status of the total South Georgia population, all known colonies were censused in 2003/2004 using a combination of yacht-based digital photography and ground counts. The breeding population estimates from this census are 1,553 pairs of wandering albatross, 74,296 pairs of black-browed albatross and 47,674 pairs of grey-headed albatross. A 30% decline since 1984 was recorded for wandering albatross, and comparison of a sample of black-browed and grey-headed albatross colonies on the mainland of South Georgia photo-censused in both 1985/1986 and 2003/2004 indicates similarly substantial population declines. Unless these decreases can be halted or reversed, doubt will exist as to the long-term viability of these species of albatross at South Georgia.
Authors: Poncet, Sally, Robertson, Graham, Phillips, Richard A., Lawton, Kieran, Phalan, Ben, Trathan, Philip N., Croxall, John P.