Family Albatrosses (Diomedeidae)


Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans)


French: Albatros hurleur German: Wanderalbatros Spanish: Albatros viajero
Other common names: Snowy Albatross

Diomedea exulans


, 1758,

Cape of Good Hope


Until recently was treated as conspecific with D. dabbenena and, indeed, also with D. antipodensis and sometimes D. amsterdamensis (which see). Type specimen lost, but probably not referable to population on Tristan da Cunha, as was traditionally held; as a result, birds of Tristan now labelled as D. dabbenena, while the name exulans is currently applied to populations formerly listed as chionoptera. Monotypic.


Southern Ocean, breeding from South Georgia E to Kerguelen, Heard and MacDonald Is and Macquarie I.

Descriptive notes

107–135 cm; male 8190–11,910 g, female 6720–8700 g; wingspan 254–351 cm. Plumage whitens with age; illustrated bird is an old male, snowy stage. Adult... read more


Calls include a repetitive croak and a powerful expiratory whine, preceded by an inhalation, plus... read more


Marine and highly pelagic; seldom approaches land except for breeding; in Australasian part of... read more

Food and feeding

Mainly cephalopods (Kondakovia longimana, Sepia apama, Histioteuthis, Moroteuthis, Taonius);... read more


Biennial (though see below), starting Nov with return to colony (males first), c. 27 days prior to breeding, pre-laying exodus (... read more


Disperses widely over Southern Ocean after breeding, most birds probably moving E, perhaps in... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Considerable decline in past, which still continues slowly at present, though species may be recovering locally, e.g. some evidence of increase on Marion I... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F., Kirwan, G.M. & Garcia, E.F.J. (2020). Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans). 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 27 January 2020).