Tuesday 2 August 2022

First recording of a Light-mantled Albatross from Asia.

Albatrosses, Diomedeidae, are large-bodied Seabirds with an almost entirely Southern Hemisphere distribution. The Light-mantled Albatross, Phoebetria palpebrata, is generally restricted to Southern Ocean. This species is currently considered Near Threatened under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, largely due to their being caught as bycatch by longline fisheries. The global population of Light-mantled Albatrosses was last estimated at 21 600 breeding pairs in 1998.

In a paper published in the Journal of Threatened Taxa on 26 July 2022, Hameed Byju of the Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology at Annamalai University, and Natarajan Raveendram of the Iragukal Amritha Nature Trust record of a Light-mantled Albatross from Rameswaram Island, off the southeast coast of Tamil Nadu State, India, which is, to the best of their knowledge, the first recording of this Bird from anywhere in Asia.

The Albatross was first spotted on 8 September 2020, in on Anthoniyapuram Beach by local fishermen, who informed the Tamil Nadu Forest Department as the Bird appeared weak and unable to fly. The Albatross was collected and allowed to rest, before flying away. It would not take food.

A Light-mantled Albatross, Phoebetria palpebrata, on Anthoniyapuram Beach on Rameswaram Island, Tamil Nadu, on 8 September 2022. Francis Aravind in Byju & Raveendram (2022).

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