T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Albatross (Campbell mollymawk) Thalassarche impavida

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Diomedeidae
Genus: Thalassarche
Species: T. impavida
Binomial name: Thalassarche impavida
Synonyms: Thalassarche melanophris impavida
Common names: Campbell mollymawk, Campbell albatross

Mollymawks are a type of albatross that belong to Diomedeidae family. Mollymawks have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns, although the nostrils on other albatrosses are on the sides of the bill. They produce stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy-rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights. They also have a salt gland situated above the nasal passage which helps desalinate their bodies, necessary due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a high saline solution from their nose.

Thalassarche impavida is a medium-sized mollymawk in the albatross family. It breeds only on Campbell Island and the associated islet of Jeanette Marie. They are a small New Zealand island group in the South Pacific. It is one of the most common small albatrosses in New Zealand, and its juveniles and non-breeders travels throughout the south Pacific, Tasman Sea, and the Ross Sea.

Adults weighs >4 kg and is >95 cm long and have a wingspan of 2.5 metres. Their pale yellow eyes distinguish them from the black-browed mollymawk (Thalassarche melanophris), whose eyes are black. 
Thalassarche impavida has a white head, neck, rump, and underparts, with a black upperwing, back, and tail. The underwing is white with broad black edging. It has a black triangle around the eye that reaches the long, yellow-orange hooked bill that has a reddish tip. The juveniles have a brown-grey bill with a black tip, dark eyes and less black on the underwing. 
The Campbell mollymawk feeds on fish, squid, crustaceans, carrion, and gelatinous organisms. The are also active scavengers, and have been caught in New Zealand fishing operations, e.g. southern bluefin tuna fisheries and some trawl fisheries.
Breeding occurs during September or October. Their nests are tall pedestals made of compacted earth, and are reused year after year, although not necessarily by the same pair. A single cream coloured egg (103 x 66 mm) is laid. The chick hatches during January or February.



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