Family Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)

Near Threatened

Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta)


French: Albatros à cape blanche German: Tasmanalbatros Spanish: Albatros cauto

Diomedea cauta


, 1841,

Bass Strait


Previously considered conspecific with T. steadi, T. eremita and T. salvini (but see those species); in past, T. steadi was often considered doubtfully valid even as a subspecies. Monotypic.


S Australasian waters, breeding on three small islands off Tasmania (Albatross, Mewstone and Pedra Branca)#R.

Descriptive notes

90–100 cm; male 3900–5100 g, female 3200–4400 g; 210–260 cm. Largest and stoutest-billed of mollymawks, with most extensive white underwing and... read more


Typical array of croaks, groans and wails. Differences between this species and other members of... read more


Marine; less pelagic than many albatrosses, frequently occurring over continental shelf and even... read more

Food and feeding

Mostly cephalopods (Nototodarus sloani, Sepioteuthis australis) and fish (Sardinops neopilchardus, Engraulis... read more


Annual in most instances, starting Sept, with egg-laying mostly in second half of this month, hatching mostly first half of Dec and... read more


Clear segregation between birds from different Tasmanian colonies during breeding season, thus... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently treated as Near Threatened. Was considered Vulnerable in Australia. Population decimated around turn of century by plume hunters,... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Shy Albatross (Thalassarche cauta). 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 October 2019).