Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
GENUS II.--DIOMEDEA, Linn. ALBATROSS.
Bill rather longer than the head, nearly straight, stout, much compressed;
upper mandible with its dorsal line much declinate, and nearly straight for a
third of its length, then concave, ascending to the unguis, on which it is
arched and decurved in the third of a circle, the ridge broad, convex, rounded
at the base, separated in its whole length by a groove, margined below beyond
the nostrils by a prominent line, from the sides, which are erect and slightly
convex, the edges sharp, the unguis decurved, much compressed, with its sides
flattened, and the tip acute; nostrils sub-basal, prominent, tabular, having a
horny sheath; lower mandible with the angle very narrow, reaching to the tip,
and having at its extremity a long slender interposed horny process; the outline
of the crura gently ascending, and quite straight, until near the end, when it
is a little decurved, the sides ascending, nearly erect, a little convex, the
edges sharp, the tip extremely compressed, its upper edges decurved. Head
rather large, ovate; neck of moderate length; body full. Feet rather short,
stoutish; tibia bare, below scaly; tarsus roundish, reticulated; toes three,
long, slender, outer very little shorter than middle, scaly for half their
length, then scutellate. Claws rather small, slender, slightly arched, somewhat
obtuse. Plumage full, soft, blended, but rather fine, somewhat compact above.
Wings very long, and very narrow the humerus and cubitus extremely elongated;
first quill longest. Tail of twelve broadly rounded feathers, short, rounded.