Plate 407

Dusky Albatros

The skin from which I made my drawing of this species was prepared by Mr. TOWNSEND, who procured the bird near the mouth of the Columbia river. Of its habits or distribution I am entirely ignorant. Having failed in finding any figure or description of an Albatross agreeing entirely with it, I have been induced to consider it as new. 

DUSKY ALBATROSS, Diomedea fusca, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 116. 

Adult--length, 34; wing, 21; tail, 11; bill, 4 10/12. 

Off the Columbia river. 


Bill longer than the head, nearly straight, stout, much compressed. Upper mandible with its dorsal outline straight and declinate until about one-third of its length, when it becomes a little concave, and along the unguis curves in the third of a circle, the ridge narrow, pointed at the base, separated in its whole length by a groove margined below by a prominent line from the sides, which are erect and convex, the edges sharp, the unguis decurved, strong, and sharp. Nostrils sub-basal, prominent, tubular, having a horny sheath, and placed rather nearer the ridge than the margin. Lower mandible with the angle narrow, reaching to the tip, and having at its extremity a slender interposed process; the outline of the crura gently ascending, and nearly straight, towards the end a little deflected, the sides ascending and a little convex, with a groove in their whole length as far as the unguis, filled by a membrane, which is wider at the base, the edges sharp, the tip compressed, its upper edges decurved. 

Head rather large; neck of moderate length, body full. Feet rather short, stoutish; tibia bare for an inch, covered all round with small angular scales; toes three, long, slender, the two outer a little shorter than the middle, the inner considerably shorter; they are covered above with small angular scales at the base, in the rest of their extent with scutella, and connected by, emarginate webs, the outer and inner with an external membrane. Claws rather small, slender, slightly arched, rather depressed, convex above, somewhat obtuse. 

Plumage full, soft, and blended. Wings very long and very narrow, the humerus and cubitus being extremely elongated; the first primary longest, the rest very rapidly diminishing; secondaries extremely short. Tail of moderate length, cuneate, of twelve strong feathers, of which the outer are rounded, the inner gradually more acute, the middle feather exceeding the lateral by two inches and three-fourths. 

Bill black; feet yellow, claws greyish-white. The head and upper part of the neck are greyish-black, tinged with brown; the rest of the neck, all the lower parts, the back and rump are light brownish-grey; the scapulars darker, the wings coloured like the head; the primary quills and tail-feathers greyish-black, with white shafts. The eyelids are narrowly margined with white feathers, their anterior part excepted. 

Length to end of tail 34 inches; bill along the ridge 4 10/12, along the edge of lower mandible 3 5/12; wing from flexure 21; tail 11; bare part of tibia 1; tarsus 3 2/12; inner toe 3 (7 1/2)/12, its claw (6 1/2)/12; middle toe 4 (4 1/2)/12, its claw 9/12; outer toe 4 (3 1/2)/12, its claw 7/12.