14 September, 2009

Northern Royal Albatross

File:Northern Royal Albatross with Red-billed Gull Taiaroa Head Sept 2007.jpg
Scientific Name: Diomedea sanfordi

Population Estimate: 17K, Endangered status

Range / Habitat: Pelagic bird which breeds at Tiaroa Head and Chatham Islands of New Zealand. Widespread in the southern Pacific Ocean when not breeding.

Field Notes: Huge seabird with long narrow wings. All white head and body, flesh-coloured bill with black edge to upper mandible. Wings black on top, white underneath with black wingtips. Distinguished from mollymawks by size and all white body. Southern Royal Albatross has extension of white from body onto leading edge of upper wings. Some plumages of Wandering Albatross may be similar but lack black line to mandible.

Personal Notes: Maora name Toroa. Seen at Tiaroa Head, which is the only mainland breeding colony of these majestic birds. Considered one species with Southern Royal Albatross until recently.

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