Fr: Albatros de l’Ile Campbell
Ang: Campbell Albatross
All: Campbellalbatros
Esp: Albatros impávido
Ita: Albatros di Campbell
Nd: Campbellalbatros
Sd: campbellalbatross


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A C A P - Campbell Albatross


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Campbell Albatross
Thalassarche impavida

Procellariiformes Order – Diomedeidae Family

Until recently, the Campbell Albatross was considered a subspecies of the Black-browed Albatross, but it differs by pale yellow eyes, greyer face, reduced white area on the underwing, shorter bill and smaller size overall.
It breeds on Campbell Island, S of New Zealand. It nests in colonies on coastal cliffs, but the species occurs throughout New Zealand seas depending on the season.
Like numerous seabirds, the Campbell Albatross is threatened by fishing gear at sea. The development of large scale fishery between 1971 and 1983 involved a significant decline. The population appears now slightly increasing, but this species is currently classified as Vulnerable.

Length: 88-90 cm
Wingspan: 205-240 cm
Weight: M: 2750-3800 g – F: 2200-3150 g

The Campbell Albatross adult is a black-and-white seabird. It has white head, neck, rump and underparts, whereas upperwing, back and tail are blackish. The underwing is white with broad, black edges.
On the white head, the upperpart of the face is pale greyish. The eye is surrounded by black triangle-shaped patch extending from bill base and loral area to above the eye, and ending in narrow black line on the rear eye.
The bill is orange-yellow with darker orange tip. There is a narrow black line around the base of the bill. The eyes are pale yellow. Legs and webbed feet are dark bluish-grey.
Male and female are similar, but the female is slightly smaller than male.  

The juvenile has dark eyes and mostly grey-brown bill with darker tip. The underwing shows more extensive black, and there is a partial, sometimes complete band from mantle and around the breast.

The Campbell Albatross breeds on Campbell Island and offshore Isle de Jeannette Marie, S of New Zealand.  
During summer, it is found mainly S of Cook Strait, and mostly in East Cape in autumn.
This species range widely in Australasian seas, and may reach the Ross Sea between September and May, during the breeding season.  

The Campbell Albatross breeds on coastal cliffs on the islands where the colonies are established. The nest is built on grassy ledges and steep slopes covered with tussock and mud. It feeds mainly in waters deeper than 200 metres.  

The Campbell Albatross produces a variety of croaks, wails, throbbing groans and grunts.

The Campbell Albatross feeds mainly on fish, and especially schools of juvenile southern blue whiting (Micromesistius australis), but it also takes squid and crustaceans.
It also forages behind the fishing boats, and aggressive encounters often occur between seabirds around offal and discards.
It catches the prey with the bill at water surface, and may perform shallow diving.

During the breeding season, the foraging trips are 150-650 kilometres from the colony, over subantarctic waters. However, they may perform larger foraging trips of up to 2000 kilometres from subtropical to Antarctic waters.
These trips may last less than 4 days when the adults are feeding the chick, but larger trips of 8-21 days occur over oceanic waters, depending on food availability.

The Campbell Albatross is a colonial nester that starts to breed at 10 years old. Mates form long-term monogamous pair-bonds, and share all the nesting duties.
They perform the typical courtship displays of the Diomedeidae, including bill-circling, sky-pointing, and flank-touching with the bill and spreading wings, accompanied by various calls.

After the breeding season, the Campbell Albatross moves to its non-breeding range from the southern Australian waters to the Tasman Sea and the S Pacific Ocean.

It may glide for hours in the air after running over the water to become airborne. It may make non-stop flights of up to 19 hours without landing. The landing near the colonies is performed on narrow, long stretch free of nest, rocks and trees.

The Campbell Albatross breeds after a pre-laying exodus of about ten days, at least for females. The laying occurs in September/October and the young fledge in April/May. They breed in large mixed colonies.
The nest is a truncated cone made with earth and some vegetation, often grass and roots. It is placed on grassy ledges on steep slopes.

The female lays a single white egg, and both adults incubate during 68-72 days, with male first for a long shift. At hatching, the chick is covered with greyish-white down (in January/February). It is fed by regurgitation by both parents. It fledges in April/May, when 120-125 days old. It will breed at 10-12 years old. It will come back to land at 5 years old.   

The Campbell Albatross breeds on predator-free islands. It is threatened at sea by longline fishing, but this is a rare event. The current threats include change in food availability, involving longer foraging trips when the adults are feeding the chick.

The breeding population is estimated to number 24,600 pairs (1995-1997). The numbers are fairly stable or even increasing slightly since 1984, with larger increase (1,8%) in selected colonies between 1992 and 1997.
The population is considered likely to continue to expand, based on the decrease in fishing effort after a peak in 1971-1983.
But currently, the Campbell Albatross is classified as Vulnerable.