Re: Harry "Snowy" Albatross

Subject: Re: Harry "Snowy" Albatross
From: "P.J. Milburn" <>
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 13:52:19 +0100
David, I owe you thanks for summarising Matthews writings on Diomedea
albatross.  I hadn't yet made the effort to assimilate all this work
because as you point out it seems to be not only messy but also very wide
of the goalposts.

I have just read the work of Medway (in Notornis) who has recently analysed
some of these early publications.  It appears that Edwards and co. actually
ate the type specimen of D. exulans upon which Linneus based his
description!  From the measurements recorded by Edwards the bird has a very
high probabilty of being from the large, high-lattitude breeding group
(also refered to as Snowy Albatross) and not from the breeding stations
nearest to The Cape of Good Hope, Gough and the Tristan Group.  This
assignment may be made irrespective of age and, since it was a large bird,
also gender.  Thus, Wandering Albatross (Diomeda exulans) appears to valid
and hence Snowy Albatross (D. chionoptera) is redundant.

In Medway's opinion, the use of D. dabennena for the Tristan Albatross may
be open to dispute on the basis of a juvenile a bird described some 140
years earlier.  However, Medway suggests that since dabennena is
established it is not worth the trauma of change.


Dr.Peter Milburn
Biomolecular Resource Facility
The Australian National University
GPO Box 334 Canberra ACT 0200  AUSTRALIA
Phone No.  <61> <2> 6249 4326
Fax No.    <61> <2> 6249 4326
E-mail Address  

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU