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Tristan Albatross - BirdForum Opus

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A member of the Wandering Albatross complex

Diomedea dabbenena


Similar species

Snowy Albatross is larger with a longer bill, and longer wings that usually looks less dark; however separation in the field usually not possible.

Separation from Antipodean Albatross also not easy, but in most plumages have a darker appearance due to mix of dark and white spots.

Amsterdam Albatross very similar to juveniles of this species but separated by black cutting edge and darker tip of bill.


Breeding on Gough Island and occasionally Inaccessible Island; in the past also bred on Tristan da Cunha. At sea, it seems concentrated on the southern Atlantic but in non-breeding spreads east to southern Indian Ocean and less commonly to Australian waters.


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].


Outside of breeding seems to be at sea far from the coast. Breeding happens in wet heath areas from 300-700 m asl.


Feeds on squid and fish, possibly also crabs and crayfish. Will seek out fishing boats to eat offal.

Eggs are layed early January, with chicks fledging 12-13 months later. Adults with successful breeding will use a year to recuperate before next attempt.



  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). Tristan Albatross (Diomedea dabbenena), 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.wanalb3.01

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