Albatross is the largest of flying birds, that spend most of their life on the sea. It belongs to the biological family Diomedeidae.
Here, we have compiled a list of 17 fascinating facts about the most legendary of all birds – Albatross.
- Albatrosses have lived in the region of the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean.
- They are absent from the North Atlantic, but their fossils remain, indicating that they used to live there once.
- Great albatrosses, North Pacific albatrosses, Mollymawks, Sooty albatrosses, all of these are the four genera of albatrosses.
- Although, these are divided into twenty-two species identified by the IUCN.
- Out of the 22 albatross species, three are critically endangered; five are endangered; seven are near threatened and seven are vulnerable.
- The Wandering albatross has the longest wingspan of any bird, which reaches up to 340 cm (11.2 feet).
- Albatros can fly at an average speed of 67 mph (108 km/h).
- Albatrosses can live for a long time. They are able to survive for almost 50 years in the wild.
- A Laysan albatross, named Wisdom is recorded as the oldest wild bird in the world. She was first banded in 1956 as a mature adult and hatched another chick in February 2017, which makes her at least 66 years old.
- Albatrosses are carnivores (meat-eater). They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, seizing the surface, or diving.
- Albatrosses have a salt gland that is located above the nasal passage. This helps to desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of seawater that they imbibe.
- They can also dive into the water to get their food. Some species have average diving of about 5 meters and can dive up to 12.5 meters deep.
- Albatrosses reach sexual maturity at around 5 years, but they usually breed at the age of 7 to 10 years.
- In the breeding season, albatrosses lay one egg, that is white with reddish-brown spots. But, if the egg is taken by other predators or accidentally broken, then parents will not lay another egg for that year.
- In all albatross species, both parents incubate the egg that lasts between one day and three weeks. Incubation takes about 70 to 80 days. This time can be longer for larger albatrosses.
- After hatching, albatross chicks take a long time to fledge. Large albatross can take around 280 days, whereas small albatross can take up to 140 – 170 days.
- Albatross have almost no natural enemies. Apart from humans, the main predator is the tiger shark which hunts young chicks that are learning to fly.