Family Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)


Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus)


French: Albatros à queue courte German: Kurzschwanzalbatros Spanish: Albatros colicorto

Diomedea albatrus


, 1769,

off Kamchatka, east Russia


May represent offshoot of ancient N Hemisphere stock of great albatrosses (Diomedea). Recent evidence indicates that populations on Torishima and in Senkaku Is possess ecological and morphological differences, and show molecular sequence divergence “greater than that recognized between other sister-species of albatross”#R. Monotypic.


N Pacific Ocean, breeding on Torishima I (in Izu Is), off SE Japan, and on two of the Senkaku Is (in S Ryukyus); has bred occasionally on Midway Atoll#R. Formerly much more widespread in NW Pacific, E to Bonin Is.

Descriptive notes

80–100 cm; 5100–7500 g; wingspan 213–240 cm. Adult is only white-backed albatross in N Pacific, and pale pink bill is useful clue for most ages. Adult... read more


Croaks, Wails and Sky-calls have all been described; the latter more closely recall those of P... read more


Marine and pelagic, with concentrations in areas of upwelling. Breeds on fairly steep slopes of... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly squid, fish, flying fish eggs and crustaceans, especially Japanese squid (Todarodes pacificus). With the single exception... read more


Annual, but possibly biennial when successful; starts Oct, with birds typically returning around 10 Oct, laying late Oct to early Nov, with... read more


Movements poorly known, probably disperses widely in N Pacific above 30º N, reaching the Gulf... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. CITES I. Legally protected in Japan, Canada and USA, and has recently been listed within the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels. Population... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus). 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 30 March 2020).