Indian Yellow Nosed Albatross

Indian Yellow Nosed Albatross (Thalassarche carter)

The Indian Yellow Nosed Albatross is a beautiful, agile little bird.  Similar, but separately classified to, the Atlantic Yellow Nosed Albatross.  A part of the mollymawk family, the Yellow Nosed are one of the smallest of the albatross species at around 71 -86cm long with a wingspan of 1.8 -2.1 metres, weighing in at around 2.5kg. The name comes from the vibrant yellow stripe running down the length of their bill.

For most of the year these albatross live at sea, in the Southern Ocean feeding on fish, crustaceans and cephalopods. They can be spotted from the SE coast of South Africa, south Western Australia, Tasman Sea and NE New Zealand.  Whilst we do have sightings year round, we see them more often in the summer months when they come closer to shore to feed on the increased movements of bait fish on the EAC.

In Mid September or early October they head back to their respective nesting grounds to breed. They are a monogamous species and will breed with the same partner for several years. Each pair will lay just one egg and will share the responsibility of incubating (for about 70 days).   The young albatross will fledge about 115 – 130 days after hatching and will not breed until they are 8 or 9 years old.

Breeding grounds are located on Prince Edward Island, the Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Amsterdam Island and the St Paul Islands in the southern Indian Ocean.

Sadly, the Indian Yellow Nosed Albatross is classified as endangered. The adults are frequently drowned in commercial long line fisheries while the young are at risk from avian diseases thought t have been introduced at Amsterdam Island from poultry kept at a military base. While a successful vaccine has been trialled, long term wide spread application is difficult.

Credits and further resources: