Light-mantled Albatross

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    • Recently, a rare flight of Antarctica’s Light-mantled Albatross to Tamil Nadu coast has intrigued the researchers.

    About 

    • This record from the Palk Bay side of Rameswaram island is significant.
    • The location where the Albatross was spotted is part of the Palk Bay and near the Gulf of Mannar, an ‘Important Bird Area’ on India’s southeast coast.
      • The IBA programme of Birdlife International aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs for conservation of the world’s birds and associated biodiversity.

    Image Courtesy: TH 

    Light-mantled Albatross

    • Scientific Name: Phoebetria palpebrate
    • Native: the Antarctic seas.
    • IUCN Status: ‘Near Threatened’ 
    • Features: 
      • Ash coloured with darker areas around the head and lighter areas across the back and wingtips. 
      • Distinctive white stripe immediately above the eye. 
    • Characteristics:
      • The bird, with broad pelagic habits, maintains a circumpolar distribution in the Southern Ocean. 
      • Known to be on the move, uses the wind and saves their energy during flights. 
    • Breeding Sites: everal sub-Antarctic islands, such as Macquarie Islands, Heard Island and McDonald Islands (Australia), South Georgia Island (British Overseas Territory), Prince Edward Islands (South Africa), Iles Kerguelen and Iles Crozet (France), and Auckland, Campbell, and Antipodes Islands (New Zealand). 

    Reasons for shift in routes

    • As the nearest recorded site of the bird is around 5,000 km away from Rameswaram, the researchers feel a change in atmospheric pressure could have been among the reasons for the Albatross to land on an Indian shore.
    • Of late, changes in the wind pattern triggered by global warming are bringing strange birds.
    • Even slight changes in the temperature can cause drastic changes in the wind pattern and Albatross could land in far-away places that are not familiar to them.

    Source: TH