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Gray-headed Albatross Thalassarche chrysostoma

  • © Fabrice Schmitt

The Grey-headed Albatross is a member of the “mollymawk” group of southern ocean albatrosses. Containing five species, the mollymawks are distinctive as a group with dark wings and back, white underparts, and rump, but separable from each other by  distinctive combinations of plumage (especially of the head) and bill color. The adult Grey-headed Albatross is identified by the combination of a gray head and an orange-tipped black bill, with yellow along the ridge of the mandible and maxilla. If seen well, the adult is distinctive, but due to its delayed maturation, juvenile and sub-adult plumages are less distinctive and birds in these plumages may be confused with other mollymawks. The Gray-headed Albatross breeds on widely scattered islands in the southern oceans. It breeds in South America on the Diego Ramirez Islands, off Tierra del Fuego, but also occurs as a nonbreeder in cold pelagic waters off both coasts.

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© Santiago Imberti

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Gray-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: