Like the Great Albatross, the Lesser Albatross belong to the genus Diomedea. They are more commonly referred to as mollymawks.
The heads of several species of Lesser Albatross are often slightly darker grey, or have dark around the eyes. They all have a colourful pinkish flesh stripe from their gape to their ear that is shown during displays. They have a distinctive bill structure and colouring which makes for easier identifying than other albatrosses. The bills of mollymawks are either brightly coloured orange or yellow, or dark with several bright yellow lines..
Listed below are the nine varieties of the smaller Lesser Albatross species that can be seen in the waters off Kaikoura.
Recent Bird Sightings
With around 150 species of birds recorded here so far, Kaikoura is one of New Zealand's top birding destinations. The wonderful array of seabirds just offshore are the jewel in the crown with five varieties of Great Albatross, nine varieties of the smaller Lesser Albatross, seven varieties of Shearwaters, fourteen Petrel varieties, and several other seabird varies such as Shags, Prions, Penguins, Gulls and Terns.