SALVIN’S ALBATROSS (Thalassarche salvini) – (See images below)
DESCRIPTION: The Salvin’s albatross is a medium-sized pelagic bird. The head and neck are light grey, the back black and the under parts white. The wings are black on top with white under. There is a black smudge in front of the eye, which is black. The tubenose bill is yellowish. The legs and feet are light pink. Sexes are similar. This bird is almost a meter (3 feet) long.
NAME: The English name ‘Salvin’s’ was given to this bird to honor the memory of English ornithologist Osbert Salvin. The name ‘Albatross’ appears to originate from Spanish ‘Alcatrass’ and refers to a diving seabird. The Latin genus name ‘Thalassarche’ is from Greek and would mean something like ‘to command the sea’.
HABITAT: When breeding, on small rocky islands. When not breeding, at sea along the continental shelf.
DIET: Feeds on the surface for fish, krill, squid. Also feeds on offal from fishing vessels.
NESTING: This albatross breeds in colonies on rocky islands. The nest is located in a depression. One single white egg is laid, incubated by both parents. They also both feed the chicks.
DISTRIBUTION: The range of this albatross is restricted to the southern hemisphere. Some vagrants have been able to reach Hawaii. (See note below on bird vagrancy.)
CONSERVATION: . The bird is considered as vulnerable by BirdLife International and is a victim of the fishing industry, especially trawlers. There is an international agreement between five countries of the Southern Hemisphere for the protection of albatrosses and petrels. On New Zealand its status is ‘nationally critical’ (see reference below).
NOTES: This albatross is part of the ‘Mollymawk‘ family. That name comes from Dutch ‘mallemugge’, meaning foolish gull (due to their clumsiness when landing).
Vagrancy: In biology this means an animal going way outside its normal range. For birds, this can happen when there are storms and they get blown off course. On other times, the bird simply wanders in a different direction than usual. Here’s an article about vagrancy in birds.

The Salvin’s Albatross has a black area around the eye as if wearing mascara, similar to the Laysan Albatross In Hawaii. This one was seen off the Kaikoura Peninsula, NZ
Salvin's albatross, Kaikoura, NZ