The Mollymawk albatrosses,
|The mollymawks are a group of medium sized
albatrosses that form the genus Thalassarche. The name
has sometimes been used
for the genus Phoebetria as well, but these are correctly
called sooty albatrosses. They are restricted to the Southern
where they are the most common of the albatrosses. They were
long considered to be in the same genus as the great albatrosses,
Diomedea, but a study of their mitochondrial DNA showed
that they are a monophyletic taxon related to the sooty albatrosses,
and they were placed in their own genus.
Mollymawks have the largest range in size of all the Albatross
Genera, as their wingspans are 180256 cm. Mollymawks have
what has been described as gull-like plumage, with dark black
backs, mantle and tails and lighter heads, underwings and bellies.
The heads of several species are often slightly darker grey,
or have dark around the eyes. They all have a colorful pinkish
stripe from their gape to their ear that is shown during displays.
They have distinctive bill structure and coloring which makes
easier identifying than other Albatross. The bills of mollymawks
are either brightly coloured orange or yellow, or dark with
several bright yellow lines.
The name mollymawk was coined in the 17th century from the German
rendering of the Dutch Mallemugge, which meant
mal - foolish and mok - gull.
Black-browed Albatross, Thalassarche
The Black-browed Albatross, Thalassarche melanophrys,
is a large seabird of the albatross family Diomedeidae.
It is an endangered species on the IUCN Red
List, but is the most widespread and common albatross.
The subspecies T.
m. melanophrys breeds in the Cape Horn area, the Falkland Islands
(mostly Steeple Jason and Grand Jason islands), South Georgia and
in the Indian Ocean sector
on Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands and Heard Island and McDonald
The Campbell Albatross (T. impavida) was formerly believed
to be a subspecies of this species.
The Black-browed Albatross
is a medium-sized albatross, at 80-95 cm (32-38 in) long
with a 200-235 cm (79-93 in) wingspan and an average weight of 3.7
kg (8.2 lbs).
Like the other albatross species known as "mollymawks",
it can be distinguished from the Wandering Albatross by the wholly
dark tail band and smaller size.
The features that identify it from other mollymawks are the dark
eyestripe which gives it its name,
a broad black edging to the white underside of its wings, white
head and orange bill, tipped orange.
In young birds the underwings are darker, the head grey and the
bill grey, tipped black.
They are similar to Grey-headed Albatrosses but the latter have
wholly dark bills
and more complete dark head markings.
The Black-browed Albatross
is circumpolar in the southern oceans.
It is the most likely albatross to be found in the North Atlantic
due to a northerly migratory
Although this is a
rare occurrence, on several occasions a Black-browed Albatross has
in Scottish Gannet colonies (Bass Rock, Hermaness and now Sula Sgeir)
for a number of years. Ornithologists believe that it was the same
bird, known as Albert, who lives in north Scotland.
It is believed that the bird was blown off course into the North
Atlantic over 40 years ago,
and it is suspected that the bird is over 47 years old.
Black-browed albatross - overview
Natural History Unit
The TimesMay 9, 2007
The lonely albatross looking for love in
all the wrong places
Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter
A lovelorn albatross
has begun its annual search for a mate,
little realising that it has been looking in the wrong half
of the world
for the past 40 years.
black-browed albatross, named Albert by sympathetic twitchers,
should be courting in the South Atlantic but has, once again,
been seen on a rocky outcrop between the Outer Hebrides
and the Shetland Isles.
incident took place in the gannet colony in the Faroe Islands
island of Mykines,
where a Black-browed Albatross lived among the gannets for over
This incident is the reason why an albatross is referred to as a
(Faroese language: súlukongur) in Faroese.
Albatross, Thalassarche eremita
Albatross, Thalassarche chrysostoma
Chatham albatross, Thalassarche eremita
This bird is a 90 cm medium-sized, black-and-white albatross
with dark thumbmark at base of leading edge of underwing.
Adult has dark grey crown, face and throat. Dark grey upper
mantle. Grey-black back, upperwing and tail. White rump.
White underparts with black thumbmark, narrow leading and
trailing wing edges, and wing tip.
Yellow bill with dark spot at tip of lower mandible.
Similar spp: Slightly smaller than White-capped Albatross
T. steadi that has a grey-yellow bill and pale head;
Salvin's Albatross T. salvini has a smaller, darker bill
and silver-grey cap.
Range & population Thalassarche eremita breeds only
on The Pyramid, a large rock stack in the Chatham Islands,
New Zealand. Aerial photographs indicated that the breeding
population was between 3,200 and 4,200 pairs, but ground
1999-2003 and in 2007 revealed c.5,300 occupied sites.
(Now also found on Snares Islands, see below)
Eggs are laid September-October, hatching November-December
and fledging in March-April.
The earliest recorded breeding age is seven years, but birds
return to the colony at the age of four.
It usually nests on rocky ledges and steep slopes. At sea
the species appears to be largely pelagic, showing less
for waters along the continental shelf than congeners. Diet
The diet has not been well studied but it is thought to
feed mostly on cephalopods and fish.
BirdLife International (2010) Species factsheet: Thalassarche
eremita. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 8/9/2010
Albatrosses: no longer Criticilly Endangered?
Photograph by Graham Robertson, Copyright©2009
The Snares Islands lie south of New Zealand. They support
sizable breeding populations of Buller's Thalassarche bulleri
and Salvin's T. salvini Albatrosses. In addition, a single
pair of Black-browed Albatrosses T. melanophris has been
incubating and with a young chick in different years on
Toru Islet in the Western Chain.
A Chatham Albatross was photographed incubating an egg
on the western face of Rima Islet on 13 October 2008.
In the same month a Chatham Albatross was observed incubating
on Toru Islet, with at least three other birds present.
Previously this species has only been recorded breeding
on Toru in the Western Chain (one bird incubating in 1995),
although birds have been reported ashore on Rima . During
September/October 2009 a Chatham Albatross was observed
incubating an egg on Toru. Its partner was confirmed as
a Salvin's Albatross.
Chatham Albatross on Rima Islet, Snares.
Photograph by Matt Charteris,
Islands seen from the north-east, with Broughton Island
on the left and Dapton Rocks on the right
Snares Islands/Tini Heke (also known as The Snares) is a
small island group approximately 200 kilometres south of
New Zealand's South Island. The Snares consist of the main
island North East Island and the smaller Broughton Island
as well as the somewhat isolated Western Chain Islands approx
5 km (3.1 mi) to the WSW.
As a group of islands, the Snares cover a total of approximately
3.5 km2 (1.35 sq mi).
Islands, standing on the North Eastern End, looking South
- across Punui Bay, Ho Ho Bay, Mollymawk Bay
then Broughton Island - the southernmost wooded land - in
The islands are home of endemic bird species such as the
Penguin, Eudyptes robustus, and the Snares Island Snipe
(Coenocorypha aucklandica heugli) as well as several endemic
invertebrates. North East Island is forested and is the
premier breeding area for the Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus
griseus) with up to 3 million individuals being present
breeding season (November-April). A dangerous reef (Seal
Reef) lies ten kilometres to the south of the group.
Megaherb communities grow on the islands.
megaherb community on Campbell Island, one of the sub-Antarctic
islands of New Zealand.
The yellow flowers and strap-like leaves are Bulbinella
rossii, the Ross Lily,
while the pink flowers are those of the Campbell Island
Carrot, Anisotome latifolia.
flower clusters can be up to 60 cm wide and 1,5m tall.
for Snares Islands: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snares_Islands/Tini_Heke
Photo: Ben Phalan,
British Antarctic Survey
The Grey-headed Albatross
, Thalassarche chrysostoma
also known as the Grey-headed Mollymawk, is a large seabird
from the albatross
family. It has a circumpolar distribution, nesting on isolated
islands in the Southern Ocean and feeding at high latitudes,
further south than any of the other mollymawks. Its name derives
from its ashy-grey head, throat and upper neck.
The meaning of the name chrysostoma is derived from two Greek
words. Khrusos' means gold and stoma means the mouth, in reference
to its golden bill.
The Grey-headed Albatross averages 81 cm (32 in) in length
and 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in wingspan. Weight can range from 2.8
to 4.4 kg (6.2 to 9.7 lb), with a mean mass of 3.65 kg (8.0
lb). It has a dark ashy-grey head, throat, and upper neck,
and its upper wings, mantle, and tail, are almost black. It
has a white rump, underparts, and a white crescent behind
its eyes. Its bill is black, with bright yellow upper and
lower ridges, thatt shades to pink-orange at the tip.
Yellow-nosed Albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos
The Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos
is a large seabird in the albatross family.
This small mollymawk was once considered conspecific with
the Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross.
The Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross averages 81 cm (32 in)
It is a typical black and white mollymawk with a grey head
and large eye patch,
and its nape and hindneck are white. Its bill is black with
a yellow culmenicorn and a pink tip.
It can be differentiated from the Indian Yellow-nosed by its
darker head. Relative to other mollymawks
it can be distinguished by its smaller size (the wings being
particularly narrow) and the thin black edging
to the underwing, The Grey-headed Albatross has a similar
grey head but more extensive and less well defined
black markings around the edge of the underwing.
Salvin's Albatross also has a grey head but has much broader
wings, a pale bill and even narrower
black borders to the underwing.
This mollymawk feeds on squid, fish and crustacea.
Like all albatrosses they are colonial, but unusually they
will build their nests in scrub or amongst
Blechnum tree ferns. Like all mollymawks they build pedestal
nests of mud, peat, feathers, and vegetation
to lay their one egg in. They do this in September or early
October, and the chick fledges in late March to April.
They breed annually.
Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatrosses nest on islands in the
mid-Atlantic, including Tristan da Cunha
(Inaccessible Island, Middle Island, Nightingale Island,
Stoltenhoff Island) and Gough Island.
At sea they range across the south Atlantic from South America
to Africa between 15° S and 45° S.
All text above from Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia
|Albatross on a
Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre)
On August 12th, 2010, officials at a wildlife centre
in eastern Ontario, Canada, are saying goodbye
to an unusual visitor, as Alby the yellow-nosed albatross
is being shipped off to Boston.
For the last month, a caregiver at
the Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee, Ont.,
has been nursing Alby back to health while experts
scratched their heads over how he managed to get so
far off course.
This type of albatross is usually found only in the
Alby arrived at the wildlife centre he weighed only
half his normal weight.
Notice the typical yellow nose!
(Photo:Sandy Pines Wildlife
Alby was discovered on a beach on
Wolfe Island, off Kingston, Ontario. He was weak and
weighing only half of his normal two or three kilograms.
They all will be sad to see the albatross
go, but that he needs an environment where he can
heal before returning to his native South Africa.
yellow-nosed albatross - overview
BBC Natural History Unit
albatross incubating egg and with newly hatched chick in nest
Ross Wanless and Andrea Angel
Percy FitzPatrck Institute of African Ornithology
University of Cape Town
Breeding Population and Trends
|Tristan da Cunha Island
||16,000 - 30,000 pair
||100 - 200 pair
The IUCN list this species as Endangered,
with an occurrence range of 16,800,000 km2 (6,500,000
sq mi) and a breeding range of 80 km2 (31 sq mi).
According to the table above, this adds up to between
27,500 and 41,600 pairs per year
for the total between 55,000 and 83,200 total adult
This population estimate was done in 1983, however
and is outdated.
Trends suggest a 50% decrease over 72 years
The largest threat is from longline
fishing, as harvesting of chicks and adults has been
part, Conservation, is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia