Salvin's Albatross, or Salvin's Mollymawk (Thalassarche salvini), is a large seabird that ranges across the Southern Ocean. A medium sized mollymawk in the albatross family, it was long considered to be a subspecies of the Shy Albatross. However molecular analysis has shown that it and the closely related Chatham Albatross (also considered to be a subspecies of the Shy Albatross) are actually sister taxon to each other, and more distantly related to the Shy. All three are now widely regarded to be separate species. The species was named by Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild for the distinguished ornithologist Osbert Salvin.
The Salvin's Albatross has a grey head, mantle and back, a white rump and underside. Its bill is pale grey with a yellow ridge and tip. It can be distinguished from the Chatham Albatross by its larger size and grey bill, and from the Shy Albatross by the greyer head. Such differences can be difficult to pick out at sea, however, and this explains the under-representation of this species in at-sea surveys.
The Salvin's Albatross breed colonially on three disparate island groups in the Southern Ocean, the Crozet Islands in the Indian Ocean and the Bounty Islands and The Snares to the south of New Zealand. A single egg is laid in September, and incubated by both parents until early November. The chicks fledge after about 4 months. At sea they range from South Africa across to Australia and as far east as the coast of South America. The world population is currently estimated to be around 65,000 birds, which suggests a decline in the species since earlier studies (although differences in methods make direct comparisons difficult).