The Shy Albatross, Thalassarche cauta, is a medium sized albatross that breeds off Australia and New Zealand's sub-Antarctic islands and ranges extensively across the Southern Ocean. It is sometimes found off the Pacific coast of the United States. Also known as the White-capped Albatross or the Shy Mollymawk, this mollymawk was once considered to be the same species as the Salvin's Albatross and the Chatham Albatross. The Shy Albatross is itself split into two subspecies, the Shy Albatross ( T. c. cauta) and the Auckland Shy Albatross (T. c. steadi), and while some authors have suggested splitting these as separate species this has not been widely accepted.
The Shy Albatross is a typical mollymawk with dark plumage on its back, upperwing and tail and a white belly, neck and underwing. Its crown and most of its head is also white, but it has a dark eyebrow and pale grey on the face. Its bill is pale grey with a yellow ridge and tip. The average size is 4.1 kg (9 lbs), 98 cm (39 in) long and 2.54 m (8.4 ft) across the wings.
The Shy Albatross feeds by a combination surface-seizing and some pursuit diving - it has been recorded diving as deep as 5m. Fish, rather than squid, plays a bigger part of its diet than other albatross species, comprising almost 90% of the diet in one study.