Thalassarche cauta (Shy albatross) 

[= Diomedea cauta

Bloubekalbatros [Afrikaans]; Bloubekmalmok [Afrikaans]; Witkapalbatros [Dutch]; Albatros à cape blanche [French]; Scheuer albatroß [German]; Albatroz-arisco [Portuguese]

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Deuterostomia > Chordata > Craniata > Vertebrata (vertebrates)  > Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) > Teleostomi (teleost fish) > Osteichthyes (bony fish) > Class: Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish) > Stegocephalia (terrestrial vertebrates) > Tetrapoda (four-legged vertebrates) > Reptiliomorpha > Amniota > Reptilia (reptiles) > Romeriida > Diapsida > Archosauromorpha > Archosauria > Dinosauria (dinosaurs) > Saurischia > Theropoda (bipedal predatory dinosaurs) > Coelurosauria > Maniraptora > Aves (birds) > Order: Ciconiiformes > Family: Diomedeidae

Thalassarche cauta (Shy albatross) 

Adult Shy albatross, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Thalassarche cauta (Shy albatross)  Thalassarche cauta (Shy albatross) 

Adult Shy albatross, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa.

[photo Jeff Poklen ©]

Adult Shy albatross, offshore from Cape Town, South Africa. [photo Trevor Hardaker ©]

Distribution and habitat

Breeds on islands off New Zealand and Tasmania, dispersing across the southern Indian Ocean to southern African waters, where it is especially common off the southern and western coast of South Africa and Namibia. It generally prefers water on the continental shelf, while more scarce further out in the ocean.

Movements and migrations

The first fully fledged juveniles arrive off the Eastern Cape in August, moving to the Western Cape in about a month.

Food 

It does both hunting and scavenging, mainly feeding on pelagic schooling fish and offal and bycatch from fishing vessels, supplemented with crustaceans and squid. It often forages in association with other animals. The following food items have been recorded in its diet:

  • fish
    • Engraulis encrasicolus (Anchovies)
    • Sardinops sagax (Sardines)
    • Etrumeus whiteheadi (Round herrings)
    • Trachurus trachurus (Horse mackerel)
    • Scomberesox saurus (Sauries)
  • crustaceans
  • squid
  • Ommastrephes bartramii (flying squid)

Threats

Near-threatened, with a world population of approximately 400 000-420 000 individuals. Its main threat is longline fishing, which for example killed an estimated 5000-10 000 birds off southern Africa between 1999 and 2000.

References

  • Hockey PAR, Dean WRJ and Ryan PG 2005. Roberts - Birds of southern Africa, VIIth ed. The Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town. 

 

 

 Contact us if you can contribute information or images to improve this page.

Birds home   Biodiversity Explorer home   Iziko home   Search