The mollymawks are a group of medium sized albatrosses that form the genus Thalassarche. The name has sometimes been used for the genus Phoebetria as well, but these are correctly called sooty albatrosses. They are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere, where they are the most common of the albatrosses. They were long considered to be in the same genus as the great albatrosses, Diomedea, but a study of their mitochondrial DNA showed that they are a monophyletic taxon related to the sooty albatrosses, and they were placed in their own genus.
Mollymawks have what has been described as gull-like plumage, with dark black backs, mantle and tails and lighter heads, underwings and bellies. The heads of several species are often slightly darker grey, or have dark around the eyes. The bills of mollymawks are either brightly coloured orange or yellow, or dark with several bright yellow lines.
The name mollymawk was coined in the 17th century from the German rendering of the Dutch Mallemugge, which meant mal - follish and mok - gull.
Genus Thalassarche - mollymawks