Status of White-capped Albatross in Australia

To: <>
Subject: Status of White-capped Albatross in Australia
From: "Brent Stephenson" <>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 2002 14:51:14 +1200
Hi Peter and birding-Ausers,

I agree that lack of belief in the distinction between taxa prevents
people from seeing the differences, however, I would like to know what
these differences are?  Clearly they are two different taxa, but what
are the distinguishing features other than breeding site?  Referring to
the Wollongong Boat trip Report tells us nothing other than you saw
birds of both taxa - on what basis were these birds distinguished?

In talking with Chris Robertson about these species over the weekend
(before I even saw these emails), he told me about features that you can
use when the bird is in the hand, however, they would be of no use with
birds at sea.  What is it that you use? 

As yet there have been no confirmed records of Shy alb in NZ waters due
to the lack of information.  I, and I'm sure many others would be
interested in knowing these differences.  I suspect bill colour may be
important, but this obviously needs to be tested.

And of course being a KIWI from the seabird capital of the world, I
agree with your statement about Shy being an Australian form of the
White-capped - HOORAY!!


Brent Stephenson MSc (Hons)
PhD Candidate (Zoology)
Ecology Group - 624, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston
North, New Zealand.
Phone + 64 (06) 350 5799 ext 2139
Cell     + 64 (0274) GANNET (426638)
Courier: Ecology Building - 624, Corner of University Ave/Orchard Road,
Turitea Campus, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand.
"That an opinion has been widely held is no evidence that it is not
utterly absurd."
                               - Bertrand Russell

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