Tristan albatross

Diomedea dabbenena

It is one of the six ‘Great Albatrosses’ in the genus Diomedea.

Juvenile Tristan Albatross © Ben Dilley
Juvenile Tristan Albatross © Ben Dilley

Known as the Gony it’s a huge bird with a white head, neck, black wings and on tail, and a large pink bill, females show more black and grey features than the male and juveniles are chocolate brown with white underwings.

It’s the third largest seabird in the world with an impressive wingspan up to 3.5 metres and breeds only within the Tristan archipelago with its whole population on Gough and an occasional pair on Inaccessible.

Tristan albatrosses are Critically Endangered, with their population rapidly declining (IUCN 2018) due to predation from introduced house mice on Gough which attacks the chicks while on the nest.

IUCN/ Conservation Status — Critically Endangered

Wingspan — up to 3.5 metres

Life span — the oldest bird recorded was at least 38 years old (Ryan, 2009)

Reproduction — courtship dance and pair for life

Sightings around Tristan islands — Breeds on Gough Island (and an occassional pair on Nightingale) and no where elese in the world!

Marine life on Tristan

The waters surrounding the Tristan islands are home to a diverse range of fish and invertebrates, including the commercially valuable crayfish.