A white-capped albatross, Thalassarche [cauta] steadi, at South Georgia: first confirmed record in the south-western Atlantic

Although albatrosses typically show strong natal philopatry, a small proportion of birds emigrate to distant colonies, occasionally establishing new breeding sites and potentially initiating speciation events. Patterns of albatross distribution and speciation may be determined largely by the behaviour of these few wayward individuals. In February 2003, a male White-capped Albatross, Thalassarche [cauta] steadi (identified from DNA), was observed in a colony of Black-browed Albatrosses, T. melanophrys, at Bird Island, South Georgia. It returned to the same colony the following austral spring. Although there have been previous records of shy-type albatrosses (T. [cauta] steadi or T. [cauta] cauta) in the south-western Atlantic Ocean, this is the first confirmed record of either taxon, and indicates the potential for colonisation, over 10000 km from its present breeding range.


Publication status:
Authors: Phalan, Ben, Phillips, Richard A., Double, Michael C.

On this site: Richard Phillips
1 January, 2004
Emu / 104
Link to published article: