In the Northern Hemisphere there are 3 species, with vagrants from the Southern Hemisphere recorded. In the Southern Hemisphere, 11 species (including D. irrorata Waved Albatross) in 4 genera are generally recognized, although there are recent suggestions for further splits resulting in species status for each of the 24 known taxa (Robertson and Nunn). It should be noted here that calculations of distance matrices by Michael Wink and John Penhallurick using Nunn's cytochrome b sequence data indicate that none of the proposed splits are supported (post to BIRDING-AUS 2001). Herein, however, traditional D. melanophris Black-browed Albatross and D. bulleri Buller's Albatross have been split, each into two species, based on biological considerations; thus, 16 species are recognized.
The only species (of the traditional 14) not recorded with certainty in the Pacific Region is the newly-described D. amsterdamensis Amsterdam Albatross. This taxon was reported as longliner bycatch south of Tasmania in 1992 (Robertson and Gales 1998), but it now appears that the capture was in the Indian Ocean outside Australian territorial waters (Gales, in Christidis and Boles 1994). Birds recently (1999) photographed and measured off se Australia (Palliser: Aust Seabird Grp Newsl. 35:17) may be this species or juvenile D. c. antipodensis. It appears that immatures of the two taxa cannot be differentiated in the hand, and they may be more closely related than previously believed (SOSSA Newsl #24, 2000); Wink and Penhallurick (see above) suggest that amsterdamensis is "clearly" a subspecies of chionoptera (=exulans). Penhallurick (2003) suggests without citation that amsterdamensis may breed on Antipodes Is; if so, then either the two taxa are indeed specifically distinct or the same subspecies. The subspecies dabbenena has been recorded off se Australia, and thus probably occurs occasionally in the Tasman Sea.
Generally, breeding adults feeding chicks forage in favored areas of ocean, often some distance from the nest site, with rapid outward and return trips to feed chicks. After young are fledged, adults migrate rapidly to preferred foraging areas, returning prior to the next breeding cycle. Juveniles after fledging move to areas favored by adults and remain there for several years prior to returning to the natal site to begin mate selection, which may take a few years prior to start of successful breeding.
Diomedea chionoptera Wandering Albatross
The somewhat confused taxonomy of this species stems from disagreement over the provenance of the specimen described by Linnaeus 1758 as exulans. Medway (1993) concluded that the somewhat equivocal measurements cited by Edwards (referred to by Linnaeus) suggested a high latitude provenance, whereas others using the same Edwards data (Chris Robertson- see Penhallurick, BIRDING-AUS 30 Jun 2000) maintain that Gough I was the source of the specimen. Olmos (SEABIRD Oct 2000) pointed out that Dabbene (1926) added or corrected the origin of the specimen cited by Linnaeus to South Georgia; if this is substantiated, then indeed exulans applies to high latitude populations. It seems advisable based on these uncertainties to consider exulans indeterminate. In this case, chionoptera Salvin 1896 applies to high latitude populations, and becomes the specific epithet for the species, and dabbenena Mathews 1929 (spadicea is a nomen oblitum for the Gough I population) to Gough and Tristan populations. The remaining low latitude populations are amsterdamensis (usually accorded specific status), and antipodensis and gibsoni on New Zealand subantarctic islands.
D. c. antipodensis Breeds Antipodes Is 8000-9000 prs; 5136 prs 1994-97 (Tennyson et al 2002), Campbell I 5-10 prs. At sea sw Pacific n to 35S, occasionally to Fiji and e (male non-breeders?) to Humboldt Current (Robertson and Gales 1998; Tickell 2000). Eggs (first) mid-Jan.
D. c. gibsoni Breeds Auckland Is 8000 prs. Females at sea in vicinity of 40S in Tasman Sea, males either ne to 20S in mid-Pacific, or nw at lower latitudes than females (Elliot et al in Robertson and Gales 1998). About 85% of the Diomedea that occur off the New South Wales coast are Gibson's Albatross (Milburn-post to Birding-Aus 2002). Eggs Jan.
D. c. chionoptera Breeds Macquarie I 7 prs. At sea n to 20S. Breeders from South Georgia reach e as far as NZ (Tickell 2000; one banded Bird I, South Georgia, observed Stewart I Nov 1999; Seddon: Southern Bird #3, 2000), while s Indian Ocean breeders occur entire s Pacific n to about 20S (Tickell 2000), poss 10S off S. America.
D. c. subsp? Max abundance e Tasman Sea May-Jun, NZ coastal waters Jun-Jul; in Humboldt Current n to 33S, occ to 10S. Cas New Caledonia, May-Oct Fiji, Jul-Nov Tonga. Acc Lord Howe I (Hutton 1991), Tuamotu Is, Marquesas Is (DuPont 1976), Jul California, Japan.
chionoptera/epomophora? Acc Galapagos Is. epomophora may be more common off S. America (Harrison 1983).
D. epomophora Royal Albatross
It has been proposed (Robertson and Nunn in Robertson and Gales 1998) that the 2 subspecies be accorded specific status, although mixed pairs occur SI and Auckland Is (see below; Robertson and Gales 1998). Plumage sequences differ significantly.
Both subspecies feed over shelf break and inner slope seas, either to the southeast of NZ or off southeast S. America, with rapid transit between the two areas (Imber 1999).
D. e. epomophora Breeds Auckland Is 100 prs including 2 mixed pairs with sanfordi in recently re-established population on Enderby I (Robertson and Gales 1998), Campbell I 13,000 prs (Imber 1999). At sea Jun-Aug n to 20S, 10S off S.America. Eggs Nov-Dec.
D. e. sanfordi Breeds Chatham Is: Sisters 2500 prs, Forty-Fours 4000 prs, NZ (SI: Taiaroa Head 15-30 prs including 5 known hybrids with epomophora; Robertson and Gales 1998). At sea Jun-Aug n to 20S, 10S off S. America; return circumpolar, with rapid migration NZ to S. America for non-breeding season then rapid return eastward (satellite tracking- Robertson and Nicholls 2000). Eggs Nov-Dec.
F: Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula.
D. e. subsp? Acc May s Tonga, Cook Is (imm Rarotonga Sep), Tuamotu Is (band recovered). Fiji rec considered incorrect (Watling 2001).
Phoebastria irrorata Waved Albatross
Breeds Galapagos Is (Espanola) 12,000 prs. At sea south and east to coast of S. America 4N-16S (Tickell 2000). Eggs Apr-Jul.
F: Hundreds nesting Punta Suarez, Espanola Jun (Ottesen).
P. albatrus Short-tailed (Steller's) Albatross
Breeds s Izu Is (Torishima) ca 1500 inds in 2001, up from only 10 in 1950 (Hasegawa); Ogasawara Is (Yomejima I) 1 pair Dec 2000 (SEABIRD); Hawaiian Is (Midway I) 1-2 birds, bred unsuccessfully 1993 (Robertson and Gales 1998), incl yellow-banded female pres and laying eggs every 2 yrs since 1993 but never mated (N Am Birds 56:120). At sea s to 20N, cas Hawaiian Is, ne Pacific mostly Jun-Nov, Aug-Jan further se. Cas Hawaiian Is (French Frigate Shoals, Laysan I). Acc Guadalupe I, Revillagigedo Is (San Benedicto). Hypo Mariana Is (Baker 1951). Eggs Oct-Nov.
F: One subad Midway (Sand I) several months prior to Apr 1995 (Vendenberg). Subad (same bird?) present mid-Nov to mid-Jan 1997-98 (Saldino).
P. nigripes Black-footed Albatross
Breeds nw Hawaiian Is (Kure and Midway e to Nihoa and Kaula, 50,000 prs); s Izu Is (Torishima) 1300 prs; Ogasawara Is (Mukojima) 1000 prs; ?Johnston I. Extirp as breeder Mariana Is, Wake (Pyle and Engbring 1985). At sea 18N-45N, incl n Mariana Is, cas n to 55N and s to 0. Old reports of breeding on Marshall Is have been discounted (Tickell 2000). Birds from Midway I spend non-breeding season off Hokkaido (Brazil 1991). Acc NZ (SI), Guadalupe I, Revillagigedo Is, e of Galapagos Is. Eggs Nov-Dec.
P. immutabilis Laysan Albatross
Breeds total 1,300,000-2,100,000 inds or 558,000 prs nw Hawaiian Is (Kure e to Kauai, Niihau, Nihoa, Moko Manu), s Izu Is (Torishima 1000 prs, Tickell 2000), Ogasawara Is (Mukojima 20 prs, Robertson and Gales 1998), Guadalupe I 50 prs, Revillagigedo Is 5-10 prs (Clarion, San Benedicto). Hypo breeder Wake I (Rice and Kenyon 1962). At sea 30N-55N, but occ s to 8N. Acc Solomon Is (Makira) Sep 1965 (banded at Midway I as juv Mar 1965, Robbins and Rice in Tickell 2000); Norfolk I Oct 1985 and Aug 1986 (Tickell 2000, Moore 1999; a previous record not accepted by RAOU, Christidis and Boles 1994). Listed for Caroline Is (Pohnpei) by Penhallurick (2003). Eggs Nov-Dec.
F: Breeding Kilauea Pt, Kauai (Pratt 1993).
Thalassarche melanophris Black-browed Albatross
This taxon and T. impavida have been recently considered separate species, but mixed pairs occur along with pure pairs on Campbell I (Moore et al 1997 contra Enticott and Tipling 1997). However interbreeding may be a result of the low numbers of this taxon relative to the large numbers of impavida present, and the presence of pure pairs of melanophris suggests assortative mating. Fledging success of mixed pairs is lower than that of pairs of impavida (Moore et al 1997).
Breeds Macquarie I 200 prs, Antipodes Is (Bollons I) 120 prs, Snares Is (first recorded 1984) 1 pr, Campbell I (first recorded 1975) 30 prs. At sea n to 10S off S. America probably all from S. American breeding islands; also n and e to Tasman Sea, esp juvs Nov-Jan, probably birds from Macquarie I and breeding islands west to S. Georgia (Tickell 2000). Acc Galapagos Is. Eggs Sep-Oct. Breeds annually.
T. impavida Campbell Albatross
Breeds Campbell I 26,000 prs. At sea n in sw Pacific rarely to 20S incl New Caledonia, Aug Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Is, Marquesas Is and e to 140W (Tickell 2000). Peak NZ (Cook Strait) Jul-Aug. Eggs Sep-Oct. Breeds annually.
Thalassarche sp. Occurs n to between Hawaiian Is and Line Is (listed as melanophris by Penhallurick 2003), Tuamotu Is, Pitcairn Is.
T. cauta Shy Albatross
Some authors consider all 4 taxa separate species: White-capped (Auckland Shy; steadi), (Tasmanian) Shy (cauta), Salvin's (salvini), and Chatham (eremita). Miskelly et al (2000) discuss the presence of incubating eremita at the Snares Is in 1995 and apparent hybrids between eremita and salvini at the Snares Is. A logical arrangement might be to divide the taxa into 2 species, one including cauta and steadi, and the other including eremita and salvini. Status of cauta and steadi as separable taxa based in bill coloration and clear mensural differences discussed by Shirihai (2002).
T. c. steadi Breeds Auckland Is 70,000-83,100 prs (Taylor 2000), Antipodes Is 20-50 prs, Chatham Is (Forty-fours) 1 pr? At sea n to 20S, apparently e to S. America and northward on occasion across equator (1 rec N. America Sep 1951 off Washington, Cole 2000, but see Slipp 1952). Ad (cauta/ steadi) at Macquarie I Oct 2002 (R. Clarke). Eggs Sep-Oct.
T. c. cauta At sea sw Pacific, e to NZ. Occurs off e S. America, probably arriving there westward via S. Atlantic; no evidence for eastward movement to S. America. 2 recs N. America: Aug 1999 off California, Jan 2000 off Washington (possibly same bird); also poss same bird an imm Oct 1996 off Oregon (Cole 2000). Eggs Nov-Dec.
T. c. salvini Breeds Snares Is 650 prs (Miskelly et al 2000), Bounty Is 30,750 prs (Taylor 2000), Chatham Is (Pyramid) 2 prs? At sea (mostly juvs-Harrison 1983) n to 20S, 6S off S. America. Acc (this subsp. or poss eremita) off N. America Jul 2000. Eggs Sep-Oct.
T. c. eremita Breeds Chatham Is (Pyramid Rock) 4000 prs; attempted breeding with salvini on Western Chain, Snares Is. At sea eastward to Humboldt Current Apr-Aug, return more northerly (satellite tracking- Robertson et al 2000; Tickell 2000); also occasionally in Tasman Sea. Eggs Aug-Oct.
T. chrysostoma Grey-headed Albatross
Breeds Macquarie I 50 prs, Campbell I 8700 prs. Seen ashore Antipodes Is 1950 (Tennyson et al 2002). At sea Jun-Nov n to 35S, possibly 15S off S. America (an adult from South Georgia to Drake Passage and north off Chile; South Georgia juvs eastward to NZ, Tickell 2000). Campbell I breeders forage Tasman Sea (Tickell 2000). Acc Society Is (Tahiti, Enticott and Tipling 1997). Eggs Oct. Breeds biennually if successful; if not, returns following year.
T. chlororhynchos Yellow-nosed Albatross
D. c. carteri (bassi of some authors, but see OSNZ 1990, Robertson 2002). At sea Apr-Oct (juvs peak Sep-Oct) ne to n NZ (NI) and 26S, unrecorded e of Chatham Is. Acc Jan Snares Is (Miskelly et al 2001). Nesting at Chatham Is (Pyramid) between Nov 1998 and Dec 2000 (Southern Bird Jun 2001).
D. c. chlororhynchos Cas ne to n NZ (3 recs, incl one at Chathams Jan 1975, Robertson 1975).
T. bulleri (Southern) Buller's Albatross
This taxon and the northern form, often (incorrectly) referred to as platei (see below) are considered conspecific by some authors, but the 3-month differential in laying dates between the two taxa suggests specific status. The epithet platei was first applied to an immature bulleri and the two are thus synonymous, platei junior, leaving the northern taxon currently un-named.
Breeds Solander Is 2625 prs (Miskelly et al 2001), Snares Is 8500 prs. At sea breeding season n to 41S around NZ (SI, Stahl and Sagar 2000a, 2000b); Jun-Aug n to 12S, apparently migrating to/from the Humboldt Current (one 7-8 years old not yet breeding banded as chick at Snares Is recovered Oct at 12S 105W, Warham 1982, Tickell 2000); suggested (Harrison 1983, Enticott and Tipling 1997) that most sedentary, but this taxon absent between breeding seasons from Snares Is, returning around Dec 1 (Miskelly et al 2001) and Solander I (Stahl and Sagar 2000b), and most disperse outside Australasian seas between breeding seasons (Stahl et al 1998). Eggs Jan-Feb. Breeds annually.
T. nov. sp Pacific (Northern Buller's) Albatross
As yet this taxon is un-named; see bulleri, above.
Breeds Chatham Is (Forty Fours 16,000 prs, Sisters 2000 prs); NZ (Three Kings Is: Rosemary Rock 15 prs). At sea breeding season in vicinity (Stahl et al 1998); Jun-Sep n to 20S, to 12S off Peru. Eggs Oct-Nov. Breeds annually.
Phoebetria fusca (Dark-mantled) Sooty Albatross
At sea Feb-Nov northeastward to w Tasman Sea (recs s of Australia), Macquarie I, Feb Auckland Is, Nov Antipodes Is, Nov NZ (SI), once extreme se Pacific (Enticott and Tipling 1997; Tickell 2000). Breeds biennually if successful; if not, returns following year.
P. palpebrata Light-mantled Sooty Albatross
Breeds Auckland Is 5000 prs, Campbell I 1600 prs, Antipodes Is 200-300 prs (Taylor 2000), Macquarie I 1000-1150 prs. At sea Jun-Aug n to 35S, 20S off S. America. Cas Kermadec Is. Acc Marquesas Is, Jul 1994 California.
This family of 15 genera and about 80 species can be divided into 4 groups, although the genera Lugensa, Halobaena, and Bulweria are intermediate and difficult to assign. The 4 groups are: Fulmars, including genera Macronectes, Fulmarus, Thalassoica, Daption, Pagodroma, and Lugensa; Prions, genera Halobaena and Pachyptila; Gadfly-Petrels, genus Pterodroma; and Shearwaters and Larger Petrels, genera Calonectris, Puffinus, Pelecanoides, Procellaria, Bulweria, and Pseudobulweria. Most of the world's species have been recorded in the Pacific Region.
Macronectes giganteus Antarctic (Southern) Giant-Petrel
Breeds Macquarie I 4000 prs. At sea Jun-Aug n to 20S, 5S off S. America. Imms further n than ads, and, as a species, ranges further n than M. halli. One banded S. Shetland Is Feb 2001 recovered off se Australia Jun 2002 (SOSSA #27); most recoveries of Indian Ocean breeders in Australia and NZ (Shirihai 2002). Cas Norfolk I, Vanuatu, Fiji (Viti Levu: one recovered Jun banded Marion I Feb; also 2 Jun specs banded Macquarie I Feb 1959 before species separated, Watling 2001, prob this sp., as the only 2 of the 9 recs identified to species are giganteus, Watling 2001), Tonga (Nomuka: spec Jul), Society Is (Tahiti), Easter I, Galapagos Is. Acc Jul Tokelau Is, Hawaiian Is (Midway I?, Enticott and Tipling 1997, but unsubstantiated Pratt 1987). Eggs Sep-Oct.
giganteus/halli sp? Cas n to Lord Howe I (Hutton 1991), Niue Sep (Powlesland et al 2000), Tubuai Is (listed as giganteus by Penhallurick 2003), Tuamotu Is (listed as giganteus by Penhallurick 2003).
M. halli Hall's (Northern) Giant-Petrel
Breeds Macquarie I 1000 prs, Chatham Is (Forty Fours 1000 prs, Sisters), Antipodes Is 320 prs, Campbell I 100 prs, NZ (Stewart I: Nelly I at Port Pegasus), Auckland Is. At sea Jun-Aug n to 35S, to 20S off S. America. Most recoveries of Indian Ocean breeders in Australia and NZ (Shirihai 2002). Acc Cook Is (Mauke: Jul 1970, banded at Crozet Is, Holyoak 1980; Mangaia: Macronectes sp? Holyoak, 1980). Eggs Aug-Sep.
Fulmarus glacialis Northern Fulmar
F. g. rogersii At sea Jan-Feb s to 25N, incl May 1999 29.5N 133.5W (Smith). Cas Hawaiian Is. Acc Guadalupe I, s Izu Is (Sofu-Gan).
F. glacialoides Southern Fulmar
At sea Jul-Aug n to 35S, off S. America n to 10S. Acc Galapagos Is.
Thalassoica antarctica Antarctic Petrel
At sea n to 50S in winter. Cas n, mostly Aug-Sep, to NZ (incl NI).
Daption capense Cape Petrel
D. c. australe Breeds Snares Is 7385 prs (Miskelly et al 2001), Antipodes Is 300 prs, Bounty Is 35 prs, Campbell I, Auckland Is, Chatham Is (Forty-fours, Sisters, Pyramid), Macquarie I (1 pr? this subsp? R. Clarke). At sea n to NZ (SI) during breeding season. At sea Aug-Sep n in sw Pacific to 25S; uncertain subsp n to 0 off S. America between Galapagos Is and Ecuador (and further: one, subsp unknown, followed ship to 16N). Cas Jul-Nov Galapagos Is. Acc Lord Howe I (Hutton 1991), Marquesas Is, Cook Is (Aug-Sep s Cook Is, Holyoak 1980). Eggs Nov.
D. c. capense At sea in sw Pacific Aug-Sep n to 25S, generally more southerly than australe, although spec found Fiji (Vanua Levu) Sep banded Feb Antarctica.
Pagodroma nivea Snow Petrel
Although northern (P. n. nivea) and southern (P. n. confusa) breeders are separable mensurally, significant sexual dimorphism in both forms and extensive hybridization where ranges meet suggest species status for the two taxa not warranted (Christidis and Boles 1994).
At sea Sep-Oct n to 55S. Jun Macquarie I (subsp? Milius).
Lugensa brevirostris Kerguelen Petrel
Retention in Lugensa rather than placement in Pterodroma based on breeding biology, which resembles that of fulmarine genera (Imber 1985). Olson (2000) has suggested use of Aphodroma to replace Lugensa.
At sea (subadults) in sw Pacific May-Oct n to 35S NZ region (incl Macquarie I Oct 2002- R. Clarke) but 55S elsewhere s Pacific except, prob juvs, to waters off Chile at 40S Aug (Howell et al 1996).