Family Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)


Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria fusca)


French: Albatros brun German: Rußalbatros Spanish: Albatros ahumado
Other common names: Dark-mantled Sooty Albatross

Diomedea fusca


, 1822,

Mozambique Channel


Formerly regarded as conspecific with P. palpebrata, but differences in courtship display and timing of breeding prevent interbreeding at sites of overlap. Monotypic.


S Atlantic Ocean and S Indian Ocean, breeding from Tristan da Cunha and Gough E to Kerguelen, and Amsterdam and St Paul.

Descriptive notes

84–89 cm; male 2200–3250 g, female 2100–2800 g; wingspan 203 cm. Long, narrow, pointed wings and long, wedge-shaped tail distinguish present genus from... read more


Main vocalization is a two-syllable Sky-call, described as “heart-rending” and given on or near... read more


Marine and pelagic, rarely approaching land except at colonies. Breeds on remote oceanic islands,... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly cephalopods (Kondakovia longimana, Moroteuthis), with small proportions of fish, crustaceans and carrion, e.g.... read more


Biennial, when successful, with 83% of failed breeders nesting in following season; starts Jul/Aug, with copulation on average two weeks... read more


Disperses over temperate waters of S Atlantic and Indian Oceans mainly at 30°–60° S,... read more

Status and conservation

ENDANGERED. World population previously estimated at 15,000–21,000 pairs, or 80,000–100,000 birds, of which 5000–10,000 pairs at Gough I, 4125–5250... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Sooty Albatross (Phoebetria fusca). 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 14 October 2019).