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Albatross, Black-browed

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Johan van Rensburg
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Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Fri May 11, 2012 1:32 pm

Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris

This albatross is listed as Endangered because it is estimated to be declining at a very rapid rate. These declines have in part been attributed to the impact of incidental mortality in longline and trawl fisheries with an estimated minimum 5,000 killed per annum across the deep-water hake trawl fishery in specifically south African waters during winter. These magnificent flyers are one of the most marine of all birds, traversing the oceans of the southern hemisphere from the subtropics to polar waters, only returning to land to breed.

The black-browed albatross is predominantly white beneath, with a dark border around the underwing. Above, the upperwing is dark grey and the bird appears as a black and white cross at a distance. The bill is yellow with a darker orange tip and there is a dark eye-stripe, giving the birds their common English name. Juvenile birds are similar to adults but have grey bills and a grey collar, as well as a dusky underwing.

It takes its food by surface-seizing, pursuit-plunging, surface-plunging and surface-diving. It follows boats and is a regular scavenger, stealing prey from other seabirds. Also follows cetaceans. It feeds on fish and krill with some cephalopods and jellyfish.

This one was spotted 40 km east of Durban.

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A pair of albatrosses mates for life. They lay a single egg each year which is incubated for about ten weeks. Whilst nesting, the parents are very territorial and will defend their nest aggressively. Both parents participate in rearing the chick for over four months before it fledges. The juvenile then spends at least three years at sea before returning to land to find a life-mate. Black-browed albatross can live for up to 70 years.

They often attain a wingspan of 2.4 m.
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby Tilandi » Fri May 11, 2012 1:40 pm

What is our chances of spotting this Albatross during our pelagic trip in June Johan? :hmz: Would love to see it in flight. :pray: :D
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Fri May 11, 2012 1:55 pm

Black-browed albatrosses are not abundant, but a good chance exists that we can see a few, mostly in flight, as you wish for... :twisted:

Darn near impossible to get a pix of as they soar around, skimming the tops of the waves...
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby Bosnimf » Fri May 11, 2012 7:56 pm

This photo was taken on a Cape Town pelagic, where your chances of seeing them is much better. On our trip from Durban last year June, by far the most abundant albatross was the Indian yellow-nosed!

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Black-browed Albatross
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby granjan » Sun May 11, 2014 11:46 pm

I snapped this from a ship about 20 miles off the west coast between Cape Town and Walvis bay 3 weeks ago.
They appeared quite common!
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby arks » Mon May 12, 2014 1:58 pm

granjan wrote:I snapped this from a ship about 20 miles off the west coast between Cape Town and Walvis bay 3 weeks ago.
They appeared quite common!
Super photo granjan!
I know it's off topic, but I'm curious about the ship; was it a cruise? A birding trip? Or ... ?
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby granjan » Mon May 12, 2014 11:02 pm

Hi Arks, we were travelling back to the UK from Cape Town on a cruise ship. A great change from flying! :)

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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby arks » Tue May 13, 2014 12:19 am

Cool 8) and also quite unusual, I think, to be able to travel all the way from Cape Town to the UK by ship (which I've done, but it was 30 years ago!). May I ask which ship? I'd guess something relatively small, since you had such a great view of the albatross.
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby granjan » Tue May 13, 2014 11:26 pm

Hi Arks,

I've pm'd you. Don't want it to be thought I'm advertising.............. :wink:

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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby arks » Wed May 14, 2014 12:29 am

I don't think that mentioning the ship would be cjnsidered advertising unless you included a link. After all, it's no way in competition with SANParks.
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby Bosnimf » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:32 pm

Hi Arks, maybe you should try to get on one of the cape town pelagic trips while you are in the area.
It is really worth the money and sea-sickness :D You usually get quite close to the Black-browed albatross and there are loads of them :thumbs_up:

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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby arks » Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:56 am

Bosnimf wrote:Hi Arks, maybe you should try to get on one of the cape town pelagic trips while you are in the area.
It is really worth the money and sea-sickness :D You usually get quite close to the Black-browed albatross and there are loads of them :thumbs_up:

Thanks Bosnimf :thumbs_up: A friend and I do keep 'thinking' about doing a pelagic trip, but haven't yet got beyond the thinking stage :redface: Lovely photo! And the sea looks very calm as well (plus I have the good fortune to be a good sailor :) )
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Re: Albatross, Black-browed

Unread postby hilda » Sun Dec 28, 2014 12:09 pm

Brilliant photo of the Black-browed Albatross Bosnimf! :clap: :clap:
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