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Thread: "Shy-type" Albabtross: White-capped or Salvin's?

  1. #1

    "Shy-type" Albabtross: White-capped or Salvin's?

    Hi everyone,

    I found this bird yesterday while sea-watching from the tip of Bingie bingie pt (NSW, close to Moruya) and I am not sure what to make of it.
    I am interested in figuring out what it is, but foremost would like to understand why.

    Thanks for your help!


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    Hi Vivien,

    Firstly, welcome to the SOSSA website

    With regards to your birds identification, it's not a Salvin's. 'Salvin's Albatrosses' are quite often sighted off Australia in August and September, but in the vast majority of cases they are juvenile White-capped or Shy Albatrosses.

    A Salvin's would have a 'messy' or smudgey black leading edge on the underwing, whereas the leading edge of the bird in the photo is quite well defined. A Salvin's would also have an indistinct 'thumbprint' on the underwing where the wing meets the body, the thumbprint on this bird is also well defined.

    As to what it is, that is a little more difficult. I would say it is a White-capped. The head/neck is still really quite grey, which is what you would expect from a bird that has recently fledged. Shy Albatross fledge in April while White-capped fledge in July. I would expect more 'wear' on a Shy that what is evident on this bird, so the grey wouldn't be as uniform, especially in the face.

    That's my opinion, but I would be happy for anyone else to add to it.


  3. #3
    Hi Brook,

    Thanks a lot for your quick and precise reply.
    I had read that Shy and White-capped fledge at different times but I did not know about Salvin's messy leading edge - very interesting!


  4. #4
    Hi Viv,

    Thanks for posting these photos. I agree with Brook. Here is a nice paper by Steve Howell on the ID of Salvin's & Co.:



  5. #5
    Hi Nikolas,

    Great read - thanks a lot!


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