Southern Royal Albatross (Diomedea epomophora) - Wiki
Southern Royal Albatross
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[Photo] Southern Royal Albatross off Kaikoura, New Zealand. Author: Mark Jobling
The Southern Royal Albatross, Diomedea epomophora, is a large seabird from the albatross family. At an average wingspan of almost 3 m (10 ft), a length of 123 cm (49 in) and a weight of 8.5 kg (18.8 lbs), it is the second largest albatross, behind the Wandering Albatross.
It was once considered conspecific with the Northern Royal Albatross (Diomedea sanfordi) as the Royal Albatross and the split into two species is not universally accepted. The two species can be separated at sea by the plumage of the wing on adults, the Southern Royal Albatross having large areas of white going down the wings, as opposed to the Northern, which has entirely black wings. They are the whitest of all the albatrosses, with black wing tips and trailing edges when fully mature. They lack the peach spot on the side of the head of Wandering Albatross. Their legs are flesh coloured, and their bill is pink with black cutting edges creating a black line along the middle. The Black line is a diagnostic difference from Wandering Albatross but the bill is also paler and the white patterning on the wings is finer - 'frosty' rather than 'blotchy' with the white spreading from the leading edge rather than out from the middle of the wing as birds mature, though some have small white spots in the middle of the wing.
The majority of the world's population of Southern Royal Albatrosses nest on the rat free Sub-antarctic Campbell Island, around 13,000 pairs. There are smaller colonies in the Auckland Islands, and some sanfordi X epomophora hybrids at the Northern Royal Albatross colony on the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand.
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