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Which albatross? Kaikoura NZ

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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 10:24   #1
Wiganlad
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Which albatross? Kaikoura NZ

My first ever albatross from holiday video stills in Kaikoura, South Island NZ in February. Hopefully enough blurred views might give someone a clue for me!
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 10:30   #2
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I was going to say Royal, of the Southern form but black tail tip makes it Wandering.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 10:33   #3
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I thought like you did and wonder if the black on the tail stops it being Royal and makes it Wandering.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 10:38   #4
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Originally Posted by Wiganlad View Post
I thought like you did and wonder if the black on the tail stops it being Royal and makes it Wandering.
Did I ammend my post after you replied, sorry, I agree with you.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 10:54   #5
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Did I ammend my post after you replied, sorry, I agree with you.
Photos 2-4 suggest there's a black upper cutting edge to the bill. This would make it Amsterdam according to this:
Extra-limital Tristan albatross and Amsterdam albatross have the same plumage states as Antipodean albatross, though Amsterdam albatross has a dark cutting edge to the upper mandible
http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/wandering-albatross


However, I don't think we can be confident that this is a real feature rather than an artefact, and the same page suggests Amsterdam is extra-limital. So I'd say "wandering" meaning wandering / snowy or Antipodean. [Edit: forgot to say, as well as the tail, I think white spreading patch at the central base of the wing points to this sp. rather than Royal]
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 10:58   #6
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Originally Posted by THE_FERN View Post
Photos 2-4 suggest there's a black upper cutting edge to the bill. This would make it Amsterdam according to this:
Extra-limital Tristan albatross and Amsterdam albatross have the same plumage states as Antipodean albatross, though Amsterdam albatross has a dark cutting edge to the upper mandible
http://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/wandering-albatross


However, I don't think we can be confident that this is a real feature rather than an artefact, and the same page suggests Amsterdam is extra-limital. So I'd say "wandering" meaning wandering / snowy or Antipodean. [Edit: forgot to say, as well as the tail, I think white spreading patch at the central base of the wing points to this sp. rather than Royal]

You'll note that I mentioned the Southern form of Royal, it shows a very similar patch.

https://www.flickriver.com/photos/15...5/48616677822/
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:04   #7
Alan henry
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Wing pattern all wrong for South Royal Albatross. Certainly not an Amsterdam or Antipodean.

See no reason why it is not a Wandering (Snowy) Albatross

Cheers

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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:04   #8
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Further to 'My first albatross'

You've now moved into my next question re. race. I purposely showed pics 2 and 3 in particular because it does seem to show a dark cutting edge which this later bird sitting on water does not show. The Royals have that black edge but as Andy and I thought, the black on tail of my original bird stops it being Royal (we think!)
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:28   #9
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Just found a sheet of paper given out by our boat driver/guide and he ticks it as Diomedea exulans gibsoni (with no ticks next to 'antipodensis'). Verbally he called it "Wandering" but searching through Avibase and Birdforum Opus plus Handbook of Birds of the World Alive I find that 'gibsoni' is either a species of its own or subspecies of 'antipodensis'. 'Wandering' now seems limited to South Atlantic and 'Snowy' is just another name for 'Wandering', which according to IOC's BOW list exists everywhere EXCEPT NZ! Any thoughts gratfully accepted!
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:39   #10
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Originally Posted by Wiganlad View Post
Wandering' now seems limited to South Atlantic and 'Snowy' is just another name for 'Wandering', which according to IOC's BOW list exists everywhere EXCEPT NZ! Any thoughts gratfully accepted!
The IOC list only lists breeding ranges - Wandering regularly do complete circuits of the Southern Ocean when not breeding.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 11:43   #11
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Thanks for that...good to know. So, are my first birds and the added bird Wandering albatross 'exulans' or Gibson's 'gibsoni' or Antipodean 'antipodensis gibsoni' subspecies? Complicated, eh!
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 12:23   #12
Larry Sweetland
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Why isn't it just a Gibson's?
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 12:58   #13
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Why isn't it just a Gibson's?
The link I posted & other web stuff suggests that the two/three forms (Gibson's/Antipodean Vs Wandering [=snowy] aren't separable except on size when you can see 2 birds next to each other.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 12:59   #14
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Originally Posted by Alan henry View Post
Wing pattern all wrong for South Royal Albatross. Certainly not an Amsterdam or Antipodean.

See no reason why it is not a Wandering (Snowy) Albatross

Cheers

Alan
Could you elaborate and explain why Amsterdam and Antipodean are out of the picture? My impression is that the commonest there would be Antipodean

[Edit:i.e.taking Gibson's/Antipodean as one thing; presume more or less indistinguishable..?]

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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 13:38   #15
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According to Handbook of Birds of the World Alive and the IOC list Gibson's is a subspecies of antipodensis whereas Avibase has Gibson's as a separate species.
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 14:25   #16
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Being true pelagic species, you can't rule anything out on range?
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 14:45   #17
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Gibson's is very regular at Kaikoura, several usually on each trip
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Old Sunday 22nd March 2020, 16:03   #18
Larry Sweetland
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Gibson's is very regular at Kaikoura, several usually on each trip
Yes, I think Gibson's is the default form of wandering albatross there, with a few Snowy and Antipodean getting reported. Time of year might effect proportions
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 07:05   #19
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You have a Gibsons's albatross here.

It's not either the 2 Royals due to the black tail, the white patches in the wings and the lack of a clear dark cutting edge of the bill. Some birds in the wandering albatross complex can show a dark cutting edge due to a shadow in the photo and some of the birds in NZ do have a subtle dark cutting edge but not like either of the Royals.

Its not an exulans as the structure of the bird is to compact and the bill to stubby. Antipodensis would have a dark cap and chest band.

I can post some photos from Australia as examples if anyone is interested.

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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 09:02   #20
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You have a Gibsons's albatross here.

It's not either the 2 Royals due to the black tail, the white patches in the wings and the lack of a clear dark cutting edge of the bill. Some birds in the wandering albatross complex can show a dark cutting edge due to a shadow in the photo and some of the birds in NZ do have a subtle dark cutting edge but not like either of the Royals.

Its not an exulans as the structure of the bird is to compact and the bill to stubby. Antipodensis would have a dark cap and chest band.

I can post some photos from Australia as examples if anyone is interested.

Rob
Rob is there a good web resource with details of how to separate these 3+ forms (3+ if we include Amsterdam etc)
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 09:15   #21
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Rob is there a good web resource with details of how to separate these 3+ forms (3+ if we include Amsterdam etc)
Not that I'm aware of but I'll try to look tonight.

It's covered well in the Australian bird guide, Steve Howells new seabird book and Only and Schofield, also, there are some interesting threads on the Australian seabirds group on Facebook. If I can find something online I'll post a link here. In the meantime I can post some photos with descriptions which may help.
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 10:18   #22
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Attached are three photos, Northern royal, Southern royal and Wandering albatross presumed exulans.

The Northern royal is an immature bird, nice fresh plumage and a few black feathers on its back. The black cutting edge is obvious on this birds bill and the tail is virtually all black, immature birds can have a few dark feathers.

The Southern royal also has a clear cutting edge to the bill and a virtually pure white tail, I can see a couple of spots of black in the tail of this bird.

The wings on these birds are very different, the northern is solidly black all the way to the leading edge of the wing while the souhtern has many white fringed or frosted feathers, more on the leading edge of the wing with a dark trailing edge. Adult Southern's get whiter wings starting on the leading edge while Northern royals always have dark wings.

The 3rd bird is a Wandering albatross which looks good for exulans. You can distinguish this bird from either Royals by the vermiculated feathering on the back and chest which should be clean white on the Royals, dark feathering in the tail and the orange cresent behind the eye. Also, although the wings look superficially similar to Southern royal a wanderers wings never look as neat as a Southern royal. This birds bill lacks any trace of a dark cutting edge and for a wanderer its a pretty large bill which is consistent with exulans.

I'll try and dig out some more photos tomorrow.

Rob
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 11:39   #23
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Originally Posted by RobHynson View Post
Attached are three photos, Northern royal, Southern royal and Wandering albatross presumed exulans.
Am I right that your description is in reverse order to the photos?

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The Northern royal ... tail is virtually all black, immature birds can have a few dark feathers.
black > white?
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 12:57   #24
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Am I right that your description is in reverse order to the photos?



black > white?
No they're in order. I think "virtually all black" should be understood in the context of these birds in particular: I.e. somewhat subtle. The orange on the last is presumably the retained remnants of the juvenile ginger plumage
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Old Saturday 28th March 2020, 13:11   #25
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No they're in order. I think "virtually all black" should be understood in the context of these birds in particular: I.e. somewhat subtle. The orange on the last is presumably the retained remnants of the juvenile ginger plumage
Yes, I seem to have looked at these photos in the order on opening in the browser, in which case they end up in reverse order to the posting. Apologies.

But I still think I'm right about black > white for the Northern. 'Virtually all' means just that, not 'subtle', and the tail is virtually all white with a few hints of black, unlike the Southern which is all white, and the third bird which has a bit more obvious black.
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