Of the four subspecies of the shy mollymawk, three breed in the New Zealand region and the fourth cauta breeds around Tasmania. The New Zealand white–capped mollymawk steadi breeds on Disappointment, Auckland, Adams, Islands, and Bollons Islands in the Antipodes and Forty–fours in the Chathams Islands. The salvin’s mollymawk salvini breeds on Bounty Islands and the Western Chain of the Snares. The Chatham Island mollymawk eremita breeds on Pyamid Rock in the Chathams. Recent taxonomic evidence indicates they should all be seperate full species.
The shy is the largest of the mollymawks and is so named for it was seldom seen following ships. The origin of the word mollymawk is obscure but may be derived from mallemuk, the Dutch or Danish word for “stupid gull” which probably arises from their lack of proper fear of humans and by their clumsiness as they walk.
In the past, albatrosses were hunted for their feathers and eggs, and were food for Maori, sealers and shipwrecked sailors. They are now threatened by long-line fisheries. This has resulted in declines in the population of Campbell albatrosses during the 1980s and may be affecting the population of shy albatrosses on the Auckland Islands.
An Agreement for the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels is a multilateral agreement which seeks to conserve albatrosses and petrels by coordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to albatross and petrel populations. ACAP came into force in February 2004 and currently has 13 member countries and covers 29 species of albatrosses and petrels
Other common names: —
molly, white-capped albatross, Thalassarche cauta, Antipodean albatross
All have white underwings with very narrow black borders and small black triangle notch at base of leading edge; larger and longer in the wing than other mollymawks; white–capped has white head and neck, rump white, tail grey black, underparts white, bill pale blue horn with yellow top, legs and feet blue grey; Salvin’s, head and mantle pale grey, sides of bill pale green; Chatham Island molly is he smallest and darkest, bill yellow with dark spot at the tip.
Where to find: —
The New Zealand white–capped mollymawk steadi breeds on Disappointment, Auckland, Adams, Islands, and Bollons Islands in the Antipodes and Forty–fours in the Chathams Islands. The salvin’s mollymawk salvini breeds on Bounty Islands and the Western Chain of the Snares. The Chatham Island mollymawk eremita breed on Pyamid Rock in the Chathams. All are seen in New Zealand coastal waters.
Youtube video —
Illustration description: —
Gould, John, The Birds of Australia, 1840-1848.
Broinowski, G.J., Birds of Australia, 1887-1891.
Oliver, W.R.B. New Zealand Birds, 1955.
Heather, B., & Robertson, H., Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand, 2000.
Page date & version: —
Tuesday, 27 May 2014; ver2009v1