Laysan Albatross
(Phoebastria immutabilis)


Picture of bird
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Laysan Albatrosses breed on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and on islands off the coast of Japan and Mexico. They range widely across the North Pacific Ocean, from the Bering Sea to south of the Hawaiian Islands, and from Japan to the west coast of North America (Arata et al. 2009). Although they do not breed in Canada, they are regular yet rare visitors to the offshore oceanic waters of British Columbia. Highest numbers off Canada occur during the winter, suggesting that many of the visitors are either non-breeding adults or sub-adults (Kenyon et al. 2009); although some breeders will make chick-provisioning foraging trips to the west coast of North America (Arata et al. 2009). Data are not sufficient to determine a change in the population status in Canada relative to about 1970. With less than 1% of the global population occurring within Canadian waters each year, Canada’s responsibility for this visitor is very low. 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
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
Canada100 - 500 birds occurring seasonally

Distribution maps


Migration strategy, occurrence

Seasonal visitor

Responsibility for conservation

Geographic areaResponsibility based on % of global population
CanadaVery Low

Conservation and management

The primary threats to Laysan Albatrosses in Canadian waters and beyond include incidental mortalities in commercial fisheries, bioaccumulation of contaminants, exposure to marine oil spills, and the ingestion of plastics (Awkerman et al. 2008, ACAP 2012a). 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). Management on major breeding colonies in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands includes long-term population monitoring, eradication of non-native plant and mammal species, and abatement programs to reduce impacts of contaminants (Arata et al. 2009).


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