Wandering Albatross is one of the largest birds in the world, with a
wingspan of up to 11 feet that surpasses all others. Despite their
size, they are truly world-class fliers, and outside of the breeding season,
spend nearly all of their lives in flight. They are very long-lived
birds, with individuals living 50 years or more. Mating pairs stay
together for life. They are normally found on the far southern oceans near
Antarctica and are only an extremely rare visitor to North America, with one
sighting off the coast of Oregon and another off the coast of California (as
Habitat: Breeds on remote islands in the southern
oceans. Outside of the breeding season, they can be found wandering
across much of the cold oceans of the southern hemisphere.
Diet: Feeds heavily on squid, but will also take
fish and crustaceans.
Behavior: Spends nearly its entire life on the
wing, outside of the breeding season and when feeding. Feeding is
typically done at night, when they often swim on the water and capture squid
that come closer to the surface at night.
Nesting: The nest is a large mound built of
grasses, mosses, and mud. Pairs typically nest every other year. The
female lays a single egg, and both parents will help incubate it during an
extremely long incubation period of 2 1/2 months. Upon hatching, both
parents will tend to the youngster and help feed it. The young stay
with the parents for many months before gaining independence.
Song: Makes a variety of sounds, including grunts,
shrieks, and whistles.
Migration: Breeds on islands just near the
Antarctic Circle. Outside of the breeding season, they may be found over
nearly any cold ocean area in the southern Hemisphere.
On the extremely rare occasion that one has been spotted near North America,
the typical Northern Hemisphere species they're most likely to be confused
with are the Laysan Albatross and
the Short-tailed Albatross.
Conservation Status: Longline fishing activities
have killed many birds in recent decades, and populations have seriously
IUCN lists the Wandering Albatross as a "Threatened" species.