Waved Albatross

Phoebastria irrorata
Galapagos albatross
Waved albatrosses have a distinctive yellowish-cream head and neck, which contrasts with their brownish bodies. Their bill, being very long and bright yellow is another distinctive feature, appearing disproportionately large compared to its relatively small head and its long, slender neck. Their upper parts and underparts are chestnut brown (but not the breast) with fine barring, which on the rump is a little coarser. Their upper-wings, tail and back are brown, and their breast and underwings are whitish. Their axillaries are brown and their feet are blue. The young are similar to the adults but have more white color on their head. The chicks have fluffy brown feathers.
40-45 yrs

Life span

64 km/h

Top Speed

2.7-4 kg

Weight

80-90 cm

Length

Disrtibution

Waved albatrosses live in only one location – on the Galapagos Islands of Espanola – where they have formed two major colonies. They fly over coastal waters off Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador to forage. It is a marine bird and mainly pelagic. Breeding takes place on bare lava among boulders and bushes, in fairly open areas. It is usually never far from the ocean, near feeding areas.

Habits and lifestyle

The whole population migrates during the chick rearing and non-breeding periods. They are to be found somewhere between the waters east of the Galapagos and the coasts from Colombia to Peru. Waved albatrosses often congregate in rafts, sitting on the surface of the sea. They often feed during the night when squid are swimming closer to the surface. Sometimes they steal food from boobies (sula) and other species. Waved albatrosses seek food 10 to 100 km from the nesting site.

Diet and nutrition

The Waved albatross eats large fish, squid, krill, crabs, lobsters, shrimps and other crustaceans.

Diet

Mating habits

Waved albatrosses are monogamous and pair-bonds are long-lasting and usually for life. The birds engage in a complex courtship ritual that can include bill circling and clacking, bowing and mutual preening. The breeding period is in April and June. One whitish egg is laid and both parents incubate for a two-month period. Thick blackish-brown down covers the chick. When two weeks old, the chick is left in the nursery while the parents go to sea and fish. They return to feed the chick pre-digested oily fish liquid. Fledging takes place when the chick is 165 to 167 days old. It will reach sexual maturity around 3 to 6 years. In January it leaves the colony and stays at sea for several years, until it is able to breed.

Mating behavior

Reproduction season

April-June

Pregnancy duration

2 months

Independent age

165-167 days
Chick

baby name

1 egg

baby carrying

Population

Population Trend

Population status

ne
dd
lc
nt
vu
en
cr
ew
ex

Population threats

Man is the greatest threat, mainly due to fishing activities but also by human consumption, and long-line fishing techniques both along the coasts and when it follows fishing vessels. Other threats are water pollution, chemicals and oil slicks BirdLife International has classified the Waved albatross as critically endangered.

Population number

According to the Quasar Expeditions resource the total population size of the Waved albatross is around 50,000-70,000 birds, including 12,000 breeding pairs. According to the IUCN Red List on Española Island in the Galápagos archipelago the breeding population of this species was estimated at least 34,694 adults. On Isla de la Plata ( Ecuador), there are probably fewer than 10-20 pairs. Overall, currently Waved albatrosses are classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are decreasing.

References

  1. Wikipedia article
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waved_albatross