Bird GuideAlbatrossesShort-tailed Albatross
Short-tailed Albatross
Phoebastria albatrus

At a Glance

This massive seabird, nesting on islands in the western North Pacific, was once a common visitor in offshore waters of the western U.S. and Canada. Driven almost to extinction in the early years of the 20th century, it has made a very slow comeback. It is now being seen regularly in small numbers at sea off southern Alaska, mainly near the Aleutian Islands, with scattered sightings elsewhere offshore as far south as California.
Gull-like Birds
Open Ocean
Flap/Glide, Soaring, Swimming

Range & Identification


35" (89 cm). W. 88" (2.2 m). A gigantic seabird, even larger than the other albatrosses normally seen in North American waters, with long, broad wings and a huge, pink bill. Juvenile is dark chocolate-brown all over. By about 3 or 4 years old, white starts to develop on face, underparts, and underwing, while nape stays dark. Full adult (after 8 to 10 years) has white body, black tail, narrow black edge on white underwing, upperside of wing about half white and half black, and shows a strong yellow wash on the head.
About the size of a Heron
Black, Brown, Pink, White, Yellow
Wing Shape
Long, Narrow, Pointed
Tail Shape
Rounded, Short, Square-tipped, Wedge-shaped

Climate Vulnerability

Conservation Status