|The great albatrosses are seabirds
in the genus Diomedea in the albatross family. The genus
Diomedea formerly included all
albatrosses except the sooty albatrosses,
but in 1996 the genus was split with the mollymawks
and the North Pacific albatrosses
both being elevated to separate genera. The great albatrosses
themselves form two species complexes, the wandering
and Amsterdam albatrosses, and the royal albatrosses. The splitting
of the great albatrosses into six or seven species has been
accepted by most, though not all authorities
The Wandering Albatross and the Southern Royal Albatross are
the largest of the albatrosses and are amongst the largest of
birds. They have the largest wingspans of any bird; being up
to 3.5 m from tip to tip, although the average is a little over
Large adult males of these two species may exceed 11 kg in weight,
as heavy as a large swan.
The great albatrosses are predominantly white in plumage
as adults, with birds becoming whiter as they age. The two
Albatrosses at all ages and the larger, older male Wandering
Albatrosses are totally white-bodied, while adult females
younger animals of the other species have dark pencilling
marks on the edges of their feathers. Generally the smaller
subspecies and the juveniles have more dark brown colour.
The recently discovered Amsterdam Albatross retains the dark
brown plumage of juvenile birds into adulthood.
The Great albatrosses range across the Southern Ocean, and
nest (for the most part) on isolated oceanic islands. The
albatrosses nest on islands around the Southern Ocean, from
the Atlantic Ocean (South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha), to
Indian Ocean and New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands. The
royal albatrosses nest only on New Zealand's sub-Antarctic
with one unusual colony on New Zealand's Otago Peninsula.
Albatross - Diomedea dabbenena (Diomedea exulans exulans)
The Tristan Albatross is a large albatross, with a length
of 110 cm and a wingspan of approximately 3.5 m.
They are very similar in plumage to the Wandering Albatross
(Diomedea exulans (sensu lato)).
The two species are often indistinguishable in the field,
although the plumage of the Tristan Albatross is generally
darker (BirdLife International 2006a). The Tristan Albatross
may be distinguished by its slightly smaller size,
and slower acquisition of white adult plumage; never attaining
the very white plumage of the Wandering Albatross
(BirdLife International 2006a).
2010 Academy of Science of South Africa
The Tristan Albatross occurs in a single population which
breeds on Inaccessible Island and Gough Island in
the Atlantic Ocean, having been eliminated from the main island
of Tristan da Cunha by 1907 (Environment Australia
2001f). Tristan Albatrosses appear to wander widely from their
subantarctic breeding islands within the Atlantic
Ocean to about 35° S. They forage almost as far north
as the equator (Marchant & Higgins 1990).
The current global population of the Tristan Albatross
is estimated between 60007000 birds (Gales 1998).
This figure however, was derived from a crude estimate made
in the 1980s, and the current population
status remains unknown. The only substantial breeding population
occurs on Gough Island, where it is estimated
that fewer than 2000 breeding pairs remain. Several hundred
breeding pairs previously bred on Inaccessible Island,
however, predation by introduced pigs devastated the colony,
and by the 1940s only two or three pairs remained.
This tiny population has not increased since (Environment
Tristan Albatross of Gough Island, a migratory
and a Critically Endangered species.
Photograph by John Cooper
The Tristan Albatross is a marine, pelagic seabird. It
forages in open water in the Atlantic Ocean near the Cape
of Good Hope, South Africa. It sleeps and rests on ocean
waters when not breeding (Marchant & Higgins 1990).
Hook and plastic ingestion may potentially threaten the
Tristan Albatross. Hook ingestion by albatrosses and
giant-petrels (Macronectes spp.) appears to have increased
in recent years. Between 50100 million hooks are
set each year in the Atlantic Ocean and as many as 1.1 billion
hooks are set globally. Both seabirds and fishing
vessels concentrate in areas of high biological productivity
(Environment Australia 2001f).
See more about this threat here: CLICK
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
Diomedea exulans exulans in Species Profile
and Threats Database,
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts,
Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat.
Accessed Thu, 26 Aug 2010 19:44:20 +1000.
Albatross, Diomedea exulans
The Wandering Albatross, Snowy Albatross, or White-winged Albatross,
is a large seabird from the family Diomedeidae
which has a circumpolar range in the Southern Ocean.
It was the first species of albatross to be described, and was long
considered the same specie
as the Tristan Albatross and the Antipodean
Albatross. In fact, a few authors still consider them all
subspecies of the same species. The SACC has a proposal on the table
to split this species, and
BirdLife International has already split it. Together with the Amsterdam
Albatross it forms the
Wandering Albatross species complex.
The Wandering Albatross is the largest member of the genus Diomedea
(the great albatrosses),
one of the largest birds in the world, and is one of the best known
and studied species of bird
in the world.
The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird,
with the wingspan between
2.513.50 m (8.211.5 ft). As a result of its wingspan,
it is capable of remaining in the air without
beating its wings for several hours at a time (travelling 22 m for
every meter of drop).
The length of the body is about 107135 cm (3.54.4 ft)
with females being slightly smaller than males,
and they weigh typically from 6.2511.3 kg (13.825 lb).
The plumage varies with age, with the juveniles starting chocolate
As they age they lose their color and get whiter. The adults have
white bodies with black and white
wings. Males have whiter wings than females with just the tips and
trailing edges of the wings black.
The large bill is pink, as are the feet.
They are night feeders and feed on cephalopods, small fish, and
crustaceans and on animal refuse
that floats on the sea, eating to such excess at times that they
are unable to fly and rest helplessly
on the water. They are prone to following ships for refuse. They
can also make shallow dives.
Red area is for Light-Mantled Albatross.
Map is used here only to show islands.
Range map from
2010. Phoebetria palpebrata. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened
Species. Version 2010.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>.
Downloaded on 08 September 2010. (Island names supplied by www.vulkaner.no)
The Wandering Albatross breeds on South Georgia Island, Crozet Islands,
Prince Edward Islands, and Macquarie Island, is seen feeding year
round off the Kaikoura Peninsula
on the east coast of the south island of New Zealand and it ranges
in all the southern oceans
from 28° to 60°.
Breeding Population and Trends
-30% over 70 yrs
The Wandering Albatross
breeds every other year. At breeding time they occupy loose colonies
on isolated island groups in the Southern Ocean. They lay one egg
that is white, with a few spots,
and is about 10 cm (3.9 in) long. They lay this egg between 10 December
and 5 January, in their nests,
which is a large bowl built of grassy vegetation and soil peat,
that is 1 metre wide at the base and
half a metre wide at the apex. Incubation takes about 11 weeks and
both parents are involved.
They are a monogamous species, usually for life. Adolescents return
to the colony within 6 years;
however they won't start breeding until 11 to 15 years. About 30%
of fledglings survive.
numbers under threat
Text on this page from Wikipedia, (E:\wwwdomene\n\birds\albatross\Wandering
Albatross - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.mht)