Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross off Wollongong!!!!

A single Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) was sighted during a pelagic off Wollongong on the 26th July 2014. The cool thing was I was on the boat šŸ™‚ The reason for the excitement is this species has only had 2 accepted BARC (SOSSA website) records in Australian waters, EVER….

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) – Wollongong, NSW – July 14

The Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross breeds on the Tristan da Cunha Group and Gough Islands in the South Atlantic ocean. That is between South America and South Africa with a range between the two. That is a very long way from Australia.

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) - Wollongong, NSW - July 14

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche chlororhynchos) – Wollongong, NSW – July 14

It is possible that the Atlantic YNA is a more regular vagrant than the two records may suggest. The bird is very similar in appearance to the common Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (See below) which breeds in the Indian Ocean and is a regular visitor to Australian waters.

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri) - Wollongong Pelagic - July 14

Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carteri) – Wollongong Pelagic – July 14

Identification Features of an adult Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross

1. Dark Grey Eye Patch

The Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross has a distinctive dark triangle in front of its eye. This feature is absent in the Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross.

2. Grey Wash on Head

There is a pale grey wash around the head. It is whiter on forehead and throat. It could be confused with a Bullers Albatross which is a regular visitor to Australian waters.The Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross has a much whiter head and any grey wash is usually confined to the cheeks.

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Identification Features

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Identification Features

3. Rounded Yellow Demarcation on Bill

Both the Atlantic and Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross have a distinctive yellow stripe on the top of the bill. The yellow stripe finishes very close to the feathers on the top of the bill. The yellow line finishes in a sharper point on the Indian wheres the Atlantic has a more rounded end.

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Identification Features

Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Identification Features

The Jizz

The Jizz of the Atlantic is noticeably different to the Indian with the grey wash giving it an appearance similar to a Bullers Albatross. When I saw it I thought it looked different as did several others on the boat.

Yellow-nosed Albatross Comparison - Indian on the left, Atlantic on the right.

Yellow-nosed Albatross Comparison – Indian on the left, Atlantic on the right.

 

Be sure to check out the SOSSA website for Pelagic Dates in Australia http://www.sossa-international.org/

 

For more photos visit my Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross Gallery.