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Wandering-type Albatross. Experts needed! (1 Viewer)

BobTag

Guest
Hi Jane,

To me, I can't see this bird as a nominate 'Snowy' Wandering, even a male. On the flight view there doesn't appear to be enough white in the upper wing coverts - could be angle & light, but seems to lack the distinctive 'checker-board' pattern of a nominate. More like a Gibson's from my experience, though I'm no expert.

How did you get to your ID? Would be interested to know to learn more.

Ben
 

hannu

Well-known member
The bird is Wandering Albatross, Diomedea [exulans] antipodensis or gibsoni, as Ben said....
differs from Royal albatross (D. empomophora)

- uniform pale rose (reddish) bill with pale cutting edges (royal has dark cutting edges)

- black tips in the tail feathers (royal has totally white tail)

- Wandering has brown wing feathers in the juvenile and subadult plumage (royal has black/blackish).

- Wandering's upperside of wing changes into white from the middle of the inner part wing and the pattern is more spotted, whereas Royal's wing become paler from the front edge to back.

id the ssp:
- small black cap
- never widely white in the wing coverts

ssp gipsoni can include inside ssp antipodensis

Source: Alula 3/2000 Rodney Russ and Hadoram Shirihai
 
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James Lowther

Well-known member
Definitely not a royal.

as regards the subspecific id i am just back from nz and have done some perfunctory reading around the subject (including a glance at the new tubenose guide) and am of the opinion that this area is a bit of a black art. It seems that there are certain very white adult plumages that the NZ types (antipodensis and gibsoni) never show, and there are certain adult plumages (possibly including the scaly body and dark cap shown by the subject bird) which the nominate never shows.

certain plumages can be shown by subadults of any subspecies

not sure if there are any reliable plumage pointers for separating the two NZ wandering types.

nominate occurs in NZ waters but probably not as common as the NZ types
 
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BobTag

Guest
I think there are a number of crossed-wires here. I've read the comments below your photo, and to me they read like ID'ing the bird as a Wandering-type (rather than a Royal) - which is very obviously is! - rather than pinning down the bird to form.

Whilst I agree with James that the form ID of Wanderings is a 'dark art', to me your bird is a Gibson's and not a Snowy, for the reasons I listed in my first post.
 

James Lowther

Well-known member
On the gallery Bruce IDed it as nominate race (maybe without meaning to?) so i think that's where Jane got it from.
More crossed wires here, when you say you think it's a gibson's do you mean

gibsoni/antipodensis, but not nominate

or

gibsoni, but not antipodensis/nominate??

James
 

BobTag

Guest
On the gallery Bruce IDed it as nominate race (maybe without meaning to?) so i think that's where Jane got it from.

I agree, that's how I read it

More crossed wires here, when you say you think it's a gibson's do you mean

gibsoni/antipodensis, but not nominate

or

gibsoni, but not antipodensis/nominate??

From what I can see I'd pin my mast to gibsoni but not nominate or antipodensis
 
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Jane Turner

Well-known member
You got it, I was merely repeating what I'd read. I'd say I was rusty on large Albatross ID, but to be rusty, it would imply that at some point you had a clue!
 

BobTag

Guest
I think adult male antipodensis is more heavily mottled and has a more extensive darker cap than gibsoni.

Absolutely. In many plumages antipodensis and gibsoni are not identifiable, esp imm gibsoni. That's because antipodensis is a darker bird. The palest birds still have a very distinct cap - in my experience antipodensis would not be as pale on the breast, nape, neck and crown as this adult gibsoni.
 

edenwatcher

Well-known member
With difficulty I think! I haven't got Shirihai to hand to check though. Tristan albatross is approximately intermediate in plumage between gibsoni and antipodensis but is unlikely off NZ.

Rob
 

Alan henry

Well-known member
Thought the attached might be of interest.

Cheers

Alan
 

Attachments

  • Great Albatross identification.doc
    483.5 KB · Views: 2,011

Larry Sweetland

Formerly 'Larry Wheatland'
So that attachment seems to suggest that, of the Wanderers, only older male Snowy (and maybe Amsterdam on cutting-edge colour) are identifiable with certainty, as even suspected adult Gibson's could be subad Snowy. Or am I missing something ?
 
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