Family Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)


Amsterdam Albatross (Diomedea amsterdamensis)


French: Albatros d’Amsterdam German: Amsterdamalbatros Spanish: Albatros de la Amsterdam

Diomedea amsterdamensis

Roux et al.

, 1983,

Amsterdam Island


Species status generally accepted since original description, owing to chocolate-brownish breeding plumage with white face and throat, broad brown breastband, pink bill, and dark tip and cutting edges of upper mandible#R, but never entirely free of uncertainty owing to view that dark plumage of adults simply an extreme form of neoteny#R and problem that other characters evident in some representatives of D. antipodensis (hence no scoring attempted); moreover, recent molecular analysis indicates very close relationship (0·5% difference) with D. exulans#R, and correlation of plumage differences with latitude suggests an ecological response among populations of this and other taxa in exulans group (D. exulans, D. antipodensis and D. dabbenena) rather than intrinsic biological difference indicating lineages at levels of divergence associated with species rank#R#R. Another genetic analysis#R, however, claims a far higher level of divergence and argues that natal philopatry and at-sea distribution patterns establish this form as “a distinct, evolutionarily important population for which a unique biological history exists”; pending further clarification, status of present form as a species provisionally and precautionarily accepted here. Monotypic.


S Indian Ocean, breeding on Amsterdam I.

Descriptive notes

107–122 cm; male 6000–8000 g (mean 6970 g), female 5000–7000 g (mean 6120 g); wingspan 300 cm. Large albatross with dark upperparts and pale face.... read more


Three major calls form part of displays, namely Whine, Sky and Yapping calls, which are generally... read more


Marine and probably pelagic for most part. Nests on highland plateau at 470–640 m within 400-... read more

Food and feeding

Diet unknown, but probably variable proportions of fish, squid and crustaceans. Feeding habits presumably similar to D. exulans,... read more


Biennial (although some pairs that fail may attempt to breed again in following year), starts late Jan or early Feb, when males first... read more


Pelagic range poorly known; off-duty incubating adults may undertake looping journeys of 500–... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. Previously considered Critically Endangered. Tiny population formerly estimated at just c. 44–63 birds, with only five pairs breeding per year on average,... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Amsterdam Albatross (Diomedea amsterdamensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 20 September 2019).