Which Wandering Albatross?

To: Ashwin Rudder <>, birding-aus <>
Subject: Which Wandering Albatross?
From: Nikolas Haass <>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2012 06:37:21 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Ashwin,

I am not sure if anyone can be 100% sure here without measurements.
The plumage of individual 1 is plumage type F (see Onley & Scofield 2007), 
individual 2 somewhere between F and G (closer to F).
Plumage type F occurs in exulans, dabbenena and gibsoni, G in exulans, 
dabbenena and male gibsoni.
Both birds don't have extraordinarily large bills and especially not 
ridiculously large ungues. Dabbenena is very difficult to tell without proper 
measurements and even then there seems to be a lot of overlap with both exulans 
on one end and gibsoni on the other end.

Structurally, individual 1 seems to be slightly smaller and to have a slightly 
smaller bill and rounder head than individual 2. 

Taken together plumage (especially the "elbow window" that doesn't connect to 
the back in individual 1, and also the vermiculations on shoulders and chest), 
bill size and head shape, I would say that individual 1 may be a female gibsoni 
and individual 2 a not extremely old male gibsoni. 

There are certainly people out there who know more about great albatrosses than 
I do. So I am happy to be corrected!



Nikolas Haass

Sydney, NSW

From: Ashwin Rudder <>
To: birding-aus <> 
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 9:05 PM
Subject: Which Wandering Albatross?
Hi all,

I'd like a hand identifying these two Wandering Albatross to species (or
subspecies depending on your taxonomy beliefs) level, if it's possible. At
the moment I'm struggling to split between gibsoni and exulans, and thought
I'd throw the pics out to some experts to get some more opinions. I have
more photos/bigger crops of both individuals.

The photos were taken mid January 2012, off Lord Howe Island.
Images 1-3 show the first bird
Images 4 and 5 show the second bird, which I neglected to get good shots
Images 6 and 7 show both birds, with the first bird on the right-hand-side
in both pics.
(This information is included in the captions)

The images can be viewed here:

Any thoughts would be appreciated :)


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