10 Interesting Facts about Albatrosses

One of these following facts about albatrosses should provide you much information about this animal. Albatrosses are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm petrels and diving petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there and occasional vagrants are found. Furthermore, to get to know more about this animal, here are some facts about albatrosses you might be interested in.

Facts about albatrosses 1: Feeding

Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together.

Facts about albatrosses 2: Breeding Sesaon

A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt. A Laysan albatross, named Wisdom on Midway Island is recognized as the oldest wild bird in the world; she was first banded in 1956 by Chandler Robbins.

Facts about albatrossess - Catching on prey
Facts about albatrossess – Catching on prey

Facts about albatrosses 3: Extinction

Of the 21 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, 19 have been threatened with extinction. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species, such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs, chicks and nesting adults; by pollution; by a serious decline in fish stocks in many regions largely due to overfishing; and by longline fishing.

Facts about albatrosses 4: Diet

The albatross diet is predominantly cephalopods, fish, crustaceans, and offal, although they will also scavenge carrion and feed on other zooplankton. It should be noted that for most species a comprehensive understanding of diet is only known for the breeding season, when the albatrosses regularly return to land and study is possible.

Facts about albatrossess - Flying
Facts about albatrossess – Flying

Facts about albatrosses 5: Nesting

Albatrosses are colonial, usually nesting on isolated islands; where colonies are on larger landmasses, they are found on exposed headlands with good approaches from the sea in several directions, like the colony on the Otago Peninsula in Dunedin, New Zealand. Many Buller’s albatrosses and black-footed albatrosses nest under trees in open forest.

Facts about albatrosses 6: Culture

Albatrosses have been described as “the most legendary of all birds”.An albatross is a central emblem in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge; a captive albatross is also a metaphor for the poete maudit in a poem of Charles Baudelaire.

Facts about albatrossess - Portrait
Facts about albatrossess – Portrait

Facts about albatrosses 7: Birdwatching

Albatrosses are popular birds for birdwatchers and their colonies are popular destinations for ecotourists. Regular birdwatching trips are taken out of many coastal towns and cities, like Monterey, Kaikoura, Wollongong, Sydney, Port Fairy, Hobart and Cape Town, to see pelagic seabirds.

Facts about albatrosses 8: Species

Current thinking divides the albatrosses into four genera. The number of species is a matter of some debate. The IUCN and BirdLife International among others recognise the interim taxonomy of 22 extant species, other authorities retain the more traditional 14 species, and one recent paper proposed a reduction to 13.

Facts about albatrossess - Short-tailed albatross
Facts about albatrossess – Short-tailed albatross

Facts about albatrosses 9: Protection

One important step towards protecting albatrosses and other seabirds is the 2001 treaty, the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels, which came into force in 2004 and has been ratified by thirteen countries.

Facts about albatrosses 10: Golf Culture

In golf, shooting three under par on a single hole has recently been termed scoring an “albatross”, as a continuation on the birdie and eagle theme. The Maori used the wing bones of the albatross to carve flutes.

Facts about albatrossess - Three birds
Facts about albatrossess – Three birds

Hope you would find those Albatrosses facts really interesting, useful and helpful for your additional reading.

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