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Study of moults & ageing of albatrosses

Clinton Care, March 9, 2013

Hi sir/madam, I had been studying the moults and plumages of short-tailed albatross and Salvin's albatross, black-browed albatross, Northern Buller's albatross,Southern Buller's albatross, Grey-headed albatross , Chatham Island albatross, Yellow-nosed albatross, White-capped albatross, Wandering albatross., via fewer dead birds and mostly my computer.

The moults of albatrosses, are poorly known, apart from when juvenile flight feathers were start to moult, it start with outer primaries 8th and goes to outermost longest primaries 10th and innermost primaries 1st and 2nd, and 4 outermost secondaries and tertaries and inner secondaries. Next moult, start with middle primaries 7th to 3rd and middle secondaries. 12 tail feathers replaced every year. Flight feathers replaces every 2nd year. juvenile albatrosses replace juvenile plumage and juvenile underside wing coverts, with 1st immature plumage, but flight feathers are not replaced and are fresh. Moult of juvenile flight feathers happen at same time as moult of 1st immature, with 2nd immature plumage. Body feathers are replaced every year.

Resently I had been studying the plumages of Short-tailed albatross, but I find it difficult, with birds older than 4 years old, and I need informations about how to age and plumages, known age birds. 4-year-old Short-tailed albatross have few dull white tertary covert feathers and white belly, scattered with few brown feathers, apart from dark brown plumage.

Seems short-tailed albatross reach fully adult plumage at 12 year old. At 8 year old the head had brown colour, at 10 year old-golden head.

Can you please supply me with moult informations, about moults, plumages, subspecies, races, along with colour photoes of known age albatrosses.


Clinton Care.