The numbers of Black-browed Albatrosses Diomedea melanophrys and Grey-headed Albatrosses D. chrysostoma at Campbell Island, New Zealand, have declined dramatically since the 1940s. Black-browed Albatross numbers went into a steep decline in the 1970s and, since at least 1984, have been increasing slightly at average rates of 1.1% and 2.1% per annum at two colonies. The long-term downward trend in numbers of the Grey-headed Albatross has continued into the 1990s, averaging annually between 3.0% and 4.8% per annum at different colonies. A demographic study carried out between 1984 and 1996 indicates that Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses have similar high annual adult survival rates (0.945 and 0.953, respectively). Black-browed Albatrosses breed for the first time at a younger average age than do Grey-headed Albatrosses (10 years and 13.5 years, respectively), have a higher average breeding success (0.663 compared with 0.397 for the latter species) and are annual breeders where as Grey-headed Albatrosses show a typical biennial pattern of breeding. Both show low survival from fledging to first breeding; averaging 0.186 and 0.162 for Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses respectively. Both species are accidentally killed in the Japanese long-line fishery for tuna Thunnus sp. In the Australasian region. The steep decline of Black-browed Albatross numbers in the 1970s was concomitant with the development of this fishery in the foraging region of the Campbell Island birds. Currently, the slight increase in numbers is due to high adult survival rates and breeding success, and is coincident with a great reduction in long-line fishing. With stable and high adult survival rates, it is expected that future population trends will be mainly influenced by the recruitment rates. The continuous decline of Grey-headed Albatrosses since the 1940s, before long-line fishing developed in this region, indicates that natural environmental processes contributed to the downward trend in breeding numbers. Modelling indicates that Grey-Headed Albatrosses numbers will continue to decrease with the present demographic parameters. A comparison between the species breeding at different sites shows that differing environmental conditions influence demographic characteristics.
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