Verdict on poss northern / pacific albatross

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Verdict on poss northern / pacific albatross
From: "Simon Mustoe" <>
Date: Fri, 11 Nov 2005 12:38:07 +1100
Thanks for everyone who made comment on the albatross pictures I posted.
I have concluded that the bird is as likely as not, to be nominate bulleri. What makes it interesting though is the fact it has a very dark hood and is completely dark all the way to the bill. Having had time to consult various literature now, I am of the opinion that it could be platei but is most likely a very fresh juvenile bulleri. Close inspection of the photos shows it has very clean feathers with some pale fringing on the back, which would indicate a bird onlt recently fledged. Immatures, which are mainly pictured in ID resources (and most people will have seen previously) have very pale heads and HANZAB attributes this mainly to wear. I think if this bird was platei it would have less white on the forehead but the main difference is the bill size. The Eden bird has a relatively narrow bill and platei would be expected to have a much heavier bill, thicker particularly at the base. The dark lores are between both species and within the margin of overlap, so it is not a good feature.
A few have questioned whether it could be Salvin's. Very certainly not. For one thing, the bill shape at the join with the head is wrong. Also, bill shape and size generally rules out Salvin's. Suffice to say, it may not look so obvious in the photos but from observations in the field this bird was definitely a Buller's type.
Thanks to everyone who provided feedback.
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