Interesting Species of Albatross

Black Footed, Short Tailed and Sooty

» Albatross Definition and Flight Information

»» Wingspan of the Albatross, the Bird's Range and Plumage

»» Interesting Species of Albatross - Black Footed, Short Tailed and Sooty

There are 21 different species of Albatross but sadly the populations of all of these birds are are considered to be threatened.

Two large species of Albatross found in the North-Pacific Ocean were regarded for a long time by ornithologists as identical with the Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans, but are now recognized as being distinct species.  They have also been confounded with one another by some authors, while the young have even been described as if different from their parents, so that their nomenclature once presented a tangled puzzle.

Short-tailed Albatross

One of them which is most like  the Wandering Albatross, and has over and over again been so termed by authors, is the the Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus of PaIlas, its young being once placed in a separate species, the "Diomedea derogata" of Swinhoe, which he described as the "Chinese Black Albatross".  The  Short-tailed Albatross is currently very rare indeed with only 1200 to 2000 individuals alive (at 2006).  This particular albatross seems to be always distinguishable by its yellow or light-coloured legs, and its pink bill which has a blue tip.

Black-footed Albatross

Another species, once known as the Diomedea brachyura of Temminck was also once known as the Short-tailed Albatross. However its young were known as the Phoebastria nigripes of Audubon.  In this particular species, now known as the Black-footed Albatross, the name of the young birds, Phoebastria nigripes has been adopted and is now used.   The legs of the Black-footed Albatross are dark or black.

Both the Short-tailed Abatross and the Black-footed Albatross are Northern-ranging birds, and seem to occur in summer in the Bering Sea, while they occasionaIly appear along the shores of China and California.

Shy Albatross

It remains to mention the smaIler species of the genus, one of which,the Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta, described by Gould, is not much inferior in size to the birds already mentioned, and owing to its wary disposition, indicated by the trivial name it bears, were extremely rare in collections in the days when such pursuits were popular.  These are part of a group of albatrosses known as MoIly-mauks or Mollymawk - a corruption of Mallemuck - which chiefly frequent the Southern Ocean.

Sooty Albatross

The Sooty Albatross has a similar range to the Shy Albatross, being found mostly in the Souther Ocean.  From its wedge-shaped tail and dark plumage, the Sooty Albatross have been placed in two species of their own, the Dark-mantled Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria fusca) and the Light-mantled Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata).


Home to more Bird facts and information at the Wonder of Birds

This page ©