Plumages of northern (Diomedea sanfordi) and southern royal (D. epomophora) albatrosses observed in Chilean seas in September 2004
|Title||Plumages of northern (Diomedea sanfordi) and southern royal (D. epomophora) albatrosses observed in Chilean seas in September 2004|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2007|
|Type of Article||article|
|Keywords||Chile, Diomedea epomophora, Diomedea sanfordi, identification, northern royal albatross, plumage, southern royal albatross|
The 2 species of royal albatrosses, the southern (Diomedea epomophora) and northern (D. sanfordi), breed only in New Zealand, but adults and juveniles are common off the western coast of South America. They can be separated on their plumage at sea. This paper examines the variation in plumages of the royal albatrosses seen in southern Chilean shelf waters at 46°30´S, based on a series of photographs taken in Sep 2004. D. sanfordi were identified by the uniformly black dorsal surface to their wings, and by the absence of a white leading edge to the wing in flight. In contrast, most individuals of D. epomophora had a white leading edge to the humeral and radial section of the wing and generally white flecking on the upper surface of the wing. However, some individuals identified as D. epomophora had no white on the leading edge nor any white on the dorsal surface of the wing. The black carpal patch near the leading edge of the ventral wing surface was variable in occurrence and was not considered diagnostic. D. epomophora out-numbered D. sanfordi by c.9 to 1 in southern Chilean coastal seas in Sep 2004. Most D. sanfordi may have left the area by Sep, moving either to the Patagonian shelf, or to Australasian seas.