| There are 21 different species of Albatross
but sadly the populations of all of these birds are are considered to be
Two large species of Albatross found in
the North-Pacific Ocean were regarded for a long time by ornithologists
as identical with the Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans,
are now recognized as being distinct species. They have also been
confounded with one another by some authors, while the young have even
been described as if different from their parents, so that their nomenclature
once presented a tangled puzzle.
One of them which is most like the
and has over and over again been so termed by
authors, is the the Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus
PaIlas, its young being once placed in a separate species, the "Diomedea
derogata" of Swinhoe, which he described as the "Chinese Black Albatross".
The Short-tailed Albatross is currently very rare indeed with only
1200 to 2000 individuals alive (at 2006). This particular albatross
seems to be always distinguishable by its yellow or light-coloured legs,
and its pink bill which has a blue tip.
Another species, once known as the Diomedea
brachyura of Temminck was also once known as the Short-tailed Albatross.
However its young were known as the
In this particular species, now known as the Black-footed Albatross,
the name of the young birds, Phoebastria nigripes
has been adopted
and is now used. The legs of the Black-footed Albatross are
dark or black.
Both the Short-tailed Abatross and the
Black-footed Albatross are Northern-ranging birds, and seem to occur in
summer in the Bering Sea, while they occasionaIly appear along the shores
of China and California.
It remains to mention the smaIler species
of the genus, one of which,the Shy Albatross
described by Gould, is not much inferior in size to the birds already
mentioned, and owing to its wary disposition, indicated by the trivial
name it bears, were extremely rare in collections in the days when such
pursuits were popular. These are part of a group of albatrosses known
as MoIly-mauks or Mollymawk - a corruption of Mallemuck - which chiefly
frequent the Southern Ocean.
The Sooty Albatross has a similar range
to the Shy Albatross, being found mostly in the Souther Ocean. From
its wedge-shaped tail and dark plumage, the Sooty Albatross have been placed
in two species of their own, the Dark-mantled Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria
fusca) and the Light-mantled Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata).