Shy Albatross – Accepted

1. 24 Aug 1999


~9 nmi. wsw Pt. Arena MEN



Figs. 32, 33, 196, 197, ph., Cole (2000), NAB 54:116, sketch in Rogers & Jaramillo (2002)

and 25 Sep 1999


~14 nmi. sw Horseshoe Pt. SON



location a.k.a. “The Football”

Shy Albatross – Accepted (continued)

2. 29 Jul–10 Sep 2000


Cordell Bank MRN • 2000-129/2000-144



ph., NAB 55:120, McKee & Erickson (2002)  

3. 27 Jul 2001


Bodega Canyon MRN



ph., NAB 55:507

Shy Albatross – Not accepted, identification not established

28 May 1996


Pt. Piedras Blancas SLO




Shy Albatross – Not submitted

17 Sep 2000


8 mi wsw Bodega Head SON


NAB 55:98






Figures 32, 33 (top, bottom). Two views of California’s first Shy Albatross, an adult or near-adult photographed on 24 August 1999 several miles off Pt. Arena, Mendocino County. Note the unmarked white underwing, save for the black “thumb print” at the base of the forewing (1999-139; Luke W. Cole).



Figure 196. California’s first Shy Albatross, an adult ~9 miles off Pt. Arena, Mendocino County, 24 August 1999 (1999-139; Sophie Webb).



Figure 197. California’s first Shy Albatross with smaller Black-footed Albatrosses off Pt. Arena, Mendocino County, 24 August 1999 (1999-139; Luke W. Cole).




Shy Albatross

SHY ALBATROSS Thalassarche cauta (Gould, 1841)

Accepted: 3 (75%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 1

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 1

Larger color images: See figures

Shy AlbatrossThis albatross’s taxonomy is complex, with three or four subspecies—or up to four species—depending on the authority followed. All breed on islands off southern Australia and New Zealand, and the species disperses widely through the southern Pacific and Indian Oceans. Cole (2000) summarized and evaluated the Northern Hemisphere records through 2000: one of nominate T. c. cauta collected on 1 September 1951 off Washington (Slipp 1952); one collected on 7 March 1981 in the Red Sea at Eilat, Israel (Goodman and Storer 1987); an 18 September 1986 sight record off Somalia (Meeth and Meeth 1988); one photographed on 5 October 1996 off Oregon (Hunter and Bailey 1997); one photographed on 22 January 2000 off Washington; and one photographed on 7 October 2001 off Oregon. On 8 April 2003 and 4 August 2003, respectively, subadults showing characters of T. c. salvini were photographed on Midway Island (NAB 57:421, 432) and in the Aleutian Islands (NAB 58:125). Records for the North Pacific generally fall between April and January, with half in August and September.

California’s first Shy Albatross was an adult or near-adult photographed on 24 August 1999 in waters off Pt. Arena, Mendocino County (Figures 32, 33, 196, 197). Cole (2000) described the event in detail and provided information on subspecies and field identification. For reasons discussed therein, the bird was referable either to cauta or T. c. steadi, and probably the former. Two more summer/early fall records have followed, at Cordell Bank and Bodega Canyon in Marin County, each of which probably involves salvini. The CBRC twice refrained from endorsing the 28 May 1996 report of a bird showing characters of salvini that was seen from Pt. Piedras Blancas, San Luis Obispo County, with seven members voting to accept in the final round of voting.


[BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS Thalassarche melanophris (Temminck, 1828) – see hypothetical section]