Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
DIOMEDEA FUSCA, Aud.
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
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.