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Amsterdam Albatross - BirdForum Opus

A member of the Wandering Albatross complex

Diomedea amsterdamensis


Length 107-122 cm, wing span around 300 cm.

  • Upperside dark brown to dark grey; mantle frequently with white speckling and white shafts of primaries
  • Face including front, chin and throat whitish
  • Underside of body dark brown mottled whitish and with belly and undertail white; this leaves dark bands at breast and vent area (this one may be incomplete)
  • Wing underside mostly white with narrow dark rear band at tips of secondaries and black tip of wing; dark spot at the front by the edge to the body
  • Eye dark
  • Bill pink with horn tip and dark cutting edge on upper mandible

Similar species

Very similar to juveniles of other species in the Wandering Albatross complex, but as a rule these lack the black cutting edge to the upper mandible. Antipodean Albatross is the one most likely to show this, but that species has a crown that is blacker and more well defined. Tristan Albatross immature may also show the black cutting edge but this species tend to lack the crown patch.


Breed on the Amsterdam Island in the southern Indian Ocean; at sea mostly southern Indian Ocean but may reach the southern Atlantic and the waters around Australia and New Zealand as vagrants.

One of the rarest albatross species with less than 100 adult birds in existence.


The former Wandering Albatross complex is today split into four species:

  • Snowy Albatross (D. exulans) breeds on South Georgia, Prince Edward, Marion, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, McDonald and Macquire islands
  • Tristan Albatross (D. dabbenena) breeds on Inaccessible and Gough Islands (formerly also Tristan da Cunha)
  • Antipodean Albatross (D. antipodensis) breeds on Antipodes and Campbell islands; this form includes (D. a. gibsoni) from the Auckland Islands
  • Amsterdam Albatross (D. amsterdamensis) from the Amsterdam Island


This is a monotypic species[1].


Current nesting is limited to an area with mossy peat bog on Amsterdam island. Outside of breeding found as sea.


During breeding treks long distances to feeding areas. Outside of breeding periods, completely pelagic.

Egg laying usually happens second half of February to early March, and fledging of the young about 12 month later.


Calls include Whine, Sky, and Yapping calls.


  1. Clements, J. F., P. C. Rasmussen, T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, A. Spencer, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2023. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2023. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. del Hoyo, J., C. Carboneras, F. Jutglar, N. Collar, G. M. Kirwan, and E. F. J. Garcia (2023). Amsterdam Albatross (Diomedea amsterdamensis), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (F. Medrano and B. K. Keeney, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.wanalb5.01
  4. Pearman, M., J.I. Areta 2021. Birds of Argentina and the South-west Atlantic. Princeton Field Guides, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford. ISBN: 978-0-691-14769-7

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.1