The Amsterdam Albatross breeds on Amsterdam Island in S Indian Ocean that is part of the French Southern Territories.
Its non-breeding range in uncertain, with possible sightings in Australia and New Zealand.  

The Amsterdam Albatross is marine and pelagic. It nests on highland plateau (Plateau des Tourbières), between 500 and 600 metres of elevation. This is an area of peat bog covered with moss.

The Amsterdam Albatross is more vocal during the displays, with similar calls to those of D. exulans complex. The displays are typical of Diomedeidae, and the calls include croaking, yapping, groans and grunts.

The Amsterdam Albatross’s diet is unknown, but it probably feeds on fish, squid and crustaceans like most albatrosses. It catches the prey with the bill at water surface. It forages in open water in the Indian Ocean, with concentrations of birds in productive waters at upwellings and at the boundaries of the currents.

The breeding behaviour is probably similar to that of all Diomedeidae, with typical, ritualized courtship displays accompanied by calls. But this species often performs aerial displays during which two birds follow each other in flight and at landing, while calling.
They are monogamous with long-term pair bonds. Both parents share all the nesting duties. The male returns first to the breeding island and the female follows ten days later. They copulate about one week before the laying.

The Amsterdam Albatross moves after breeding and spends both winter and spring further north. It may occur near SW Africa between March and October. The species is migratory or dispersive.

Like other albatrosses, it takes off after running over the water. Once airborne, it glides easily for hours. It lands near the colony on narrow, long stretch free of nests.

The Amsterdam Albatross is biennial but some pairs attempt to breed in following year if the previous egg or chick is lost.
The breeding season starts in late January/early February, with the laying in late February/early March.
The nest is typically a truncated cone made with mud and pieces of vegetation and placed on the ground.   

The female lays a single white egg and both adults incubate during 78-80 days in 8-10 shifts of 7 days. At hatching, the chick has white or pale grey down and pale pinkish bill. It is fed every 2-15 days by both parents by regurgitation and it grows fast.
The young fledge in January/February, after about 235 days in the nest. It will breed at 7-10 years old, and it will return to Amsterdam Island at 5 years old.

The Amsterdam Albatross is threatened by reduction of food availability, fishing nets, marine debris and oil spills. The main threat is drowning in longline fishing gear, hooking and plastic ingestion.
When breeding, they are threatened by introduced cats and rats on Amsterdam Island. The breeding sites suffered degradation and destruction by cattle farming and fire management, and they are vulnerable to diseases.  

The population was estimated at 170 individuals in total, including 80 mature individuals. There are 26 pairs that breed annually (2011). The population is now likely to be around 100 mature individuals. Some increase was reported between 1983 and 2009, but currently, the Amsterdam Albatross is listed as Critically Endangered with small population and very restricted breeding range.

Fr: Albatros d’Amsterdam
Ang: Amsterdam Albatross - Amsterdam Island Albatross
All: Amsterdamalbatros
Esp: Albatros de la Amsterdam
Ita: Albatros di Amsterdam
Nd: Amsterdamalbatros
Sd: amsterdamalbatross

Text and illustration by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD vol 1 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliot-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN: 8487334105

A Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildlife by Hadoram Shirihai and Illustrated by Brett Jarrett - Edited by Guy M. Kirwan - ALUL.A Press Oy, Finland - ISBN 9519894705

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

BirdLife International

HBW Alive

ARKive (Christopher Parsons)

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Ocean Wanderers "Ride the Wave"

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia 

Our Endangered World – Amsterdam Albatross  

A C A P – Amsterdam Albatross


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Amsterdam Albatross
Diomedea amsterdamensis

Procellariiformes Order – Diomedidae Family

The Amsterdam Albatross is a huge seabird with extremely restricted breeding range on Amsterdam Island in S Indian Ocean. It is usually recognized as a species, but some authors do not. However, recent genetic analysis and DNA comparisons provide clear genetic evidence that it is a separate species.   
It was only described in 1983, and it was considered at this moment a subspecies of D. exulans (Wandering Albatross).
The Amsterdam Albatross is vulnerable to the usual threats both at sea and on land, and it is currently listed as Critically Endangered.   

Length: 107-122 cm
Wingspan: 300 cm
Weight: M: 6000-8000 g – F: 5000-7000 g

The Amsterdam Albatross is a large seabird with dark upperparts and white face.
The upperparts are brown to greyish-brown, with pale scaling on mantle, formed by the broad, pale edges of feathers. Upperwing and uppertail are dark brown to blackish-grey, with contrasting white shaft on outer primaries on the upperwing. The neck is mixed with whitish and pale brown.
On the underparts, the underwing is largely white except the dark flight feathers, and the narrow leading and trailing edges. We can see a small dark patch at the anterior corner of wing base. There is a pale scaly pattern on the brownish or greyish foreneck and breast, usually extending to flanks and thighs. This dark area contrasts strongly with the pale throat, belly and underwing.

On the head, the face is white whereas crown, nape and hindneck are dark like the upperparts, extending to the ear-coverts and down to the neck sides.
The bill is pale pink with horn-coloured tip. The dark cutting edge is sharply defined on the upper mandible. The eyes are blackish-brown with white eyelids. Legs and webbed feet are pale pinkish.  
Male and female are similar, but the female is smaller overall.
The juvenile is very similar to the juveniles of D. exulans complex that also includes D. antipodensis (Antipodean Albatross) and D. dabbedena (Tristan Albatross).