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Procellariiformes > Diomedeidae

Wandering Albatross

Diomedea exulans

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Identification

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Huge albatross of the Southern Ocean; breeds locally on remote islands, but circles the globe on its travels. Plumage highly variable, but always has white underwings with small black tip. Only similar species that is equally large is Royal Albatross, which never has dirty brownish markings on head and body or a mostly black tail as seen on many Wandering Albatrosses. Juvenile Wandering starts out with a chocolate brown head and body and a white face patch; gradually attains adult plumage over many years. Oldest Wandering develops extensively white upperwings and a white tail, much like Royal, making older birds difficult to separate. Wandering lacks narrow black “lips” on bill of Royal, often has messier, more spotted pattern on upperwing, and can show diagnostic pinkish stain on cheeks, not shown by Royal.

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Learn more about Wandering Albatross from…

Neotropical Birds

Life histories of all species breeding in Mexico, Central America, and South America