Black-footed Albatross
(Phoebastria nigripes)


Picture of bird
© James Lloyd - License
For additional photos and vocalizations, visit Dendroica. (Link opens in a new window.)

Black-footed Albatrosses breed on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, as well as on islands off the coast of Japan and, intermittently, Mexico. Although they do not breed in Canada, they are regularly observed off shore of the Pacific coast and are thought to be present throughout the entire year (Kenyon et al. 2009). Data are not sufficient to determine a change in population status in Canada relative to 1970. The species was designated as Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, primarily due to fisheries-induced mortality (COSEWIC 2007h). This species has been identified as a priority for conservation and/or stewardship in one or more Bird Conservation Region Strategies in Canada.


Main designations for the species
DesignationStatusDateSubspecies, population
COSEWIC (Canada)Special Concern2007 
SARA (Canada)Special Concern2009 
IUCN (Global)Near threatened2018 
Partners in Flight (North America)Watch list - yellow R2017 
Wild Species (Canada)Vulnerable2015 
State of North America’s BirdsWatch list2016 
Bird Conservation Region StrategyPriority Species2013 

Population status

Geographic area or populationPopulation change relative to ~1970ReliabilityStatus in relation to goal
CanadaData DeficientData DeficientData Deficient

Population estimate

Geographic area or populationPopulation estimate
Canada1,000 - 10,000 birds occurring seasonally

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Seasonal visitor

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population

Conservation and management

The primary threats to Black-footed Albatrosses in Canadian waters and elsewhere include incidental mortalities in commercial fisheries, bioaccumulation of contaminants, exposure to marine oil spills, and ingestion of plastics (COSEWIC 2007h, ACAP 2012). These threats motivate ongoing efforts to define at-sea distributions and their overlap with longline fisheries, and to maintain regulations to minimize mortalities (Arata et al. 2009, Awkerman et al. 2008). Other emerging threats include loss of nesting habitat and reduced breeding success due to the effects of climate change (ECCC 2017c). All Hawaiian breeding colonies are within protected areas (accounting for >90% of the global population) and monitoring efforts for most of those colonies have been continuous since 1991 (Arata et al. 2009). Long-term at-sea surveys have been underway in Canada to monitor the distribution and abundance, along with bycatch mortality in Pacific waters (ECCC 2017c).


Bird conservation region strategies

Environment and Climate Change Canada and partners have developed Bird Conservation Region Strategies in each of Canada’s Bird Conservation Regions (BCRs). In these strategies, selected species are identified as priorities for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conservation concerns (i.e., species vulnerable due to population size, distribution, population trend, abundance, or threats)
  • stewardship responsibilities (i.e., species that typify the regional avifauna or have a large proportion of their range or population in the sub-region)
  • management concerns (i.e., species that require ongoing management because of their socio-economic importance as game species, or because of their impacts on other species or habitats)
  • other concerns (i.e., species deemed a priority by regional experts for other reasons than those listed above or because they are listed as species at risk or concern at the provincial level)

Select any of the sub-regions below to view the BCR strategy for additional details.

BCRs, marine biogeographic units, and sub-regions in which the species is listed as a priority
RegionSub-region and priority type
Northern Pacific RainforestNorthern Pacific Rainforest, sub-region and priority type: Pacific and Yukon -- Stewardship