Friday, January 20, 2012
Royal Albatross - partial skull
At Broulee, NSW, Australia I found a partial marine bird skull which I hypothesised to be that of an albatross. I took it back down to the seashore to take some photographs of it.
The Ancient One
Using the Seabird Osteology site, I have since identified it as the skull of a Southern Royal Albatross. According to the bird field guide I have to hand there are two races of these species: Diomedea epomophora is endangered and the other, dark winged , Diomedea sanfordi is vulnerable. Without having seen a full corpse with feathers I can't be sure which one it is. It is a little smaller than the depicted specimen - beak is about 14cm - so I'm guessing it could be a female or going by the slight difference in eye socket shape, a juvenile.
I certainly didn't expect to find a piece of endangered bird on the beach and had to make sure it wasn't something more common like the comorants seen in the area. As it turns out, all Australian species of albatross are either endangered or vulnerable. It's not something you want to know but at least now I'm a little more informed on the subject, and thus so are you.