The gorgeous Albatross ranks as an extremely large, sea-going bird. At 12 feet (3.65 m) on average, the albatross’ wingspan is the second greatest of any bird, second only to the Andean Condor – by fractions of an inch.
The birds live throughout the Southern Ocean and North Pacific. They are also highly efficient flyers, capable of covering great distances with little effort. Utilizing ocean air currents, they have been known to cover as much as 600 miles (965 km) in a single day, without flapping their wings once!
They also feed principally on fish, krill, and squid.
The gorgeous birds prefer to nest on craggy shorelines. Further, they live much longer than many other birds – as much as 50 years. Because of this, they have less pressure to reproduce in numbers, so typically only a single egg is laid at a time.
They are very attentive parents, caring for their young for a very long time. They also utilize a fascinating variety of “Dances” as part of their mating rituals. Afterward, the egg laid may weigh as much as 18 ounces (510 grams)!
Albatross Parenting Practices
Both parents take care of the chick after it hatches. For the first three weeks, the chick must be kept warm at all times, until its downy fur has thickened enough to allow it to regulate its own body temperature. At this time the mother and father take turns feeding the chick a combination of squid, fish, and krill.
They remain fledglings for long – up to as much as 280 days. During this time, they will often temporarily outweigh their parents.
The albatross is a colonial species of animal, living and moving in large groups.