Waved Albatross

Waved Albatross

Galapagos albatross

Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Phoebastria irrorata
Population size
50,000-70,00
Life Span
40-45 yrs
TOP SPEED
64 km/h
WEIGHT
2.7-4 kg
LENGTH
80-90 cm
WINGSPAN
220-250 cm

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 upperparts 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 heads. The chicks have fluffy brown feathers.

Di

Diurnal

Ca

Carnivore

Pi

Piscivores

Mo

Molluscivore

Sc

Scavenger

Se

Semiaquatic

Se

Seabird

Pe

Pelagic birds

Al

Altricial

Gl

Gliding

Na

Natatorial

Co

Congregatory

Ov

Oviparous

Se

Seabird

So

Soaring birds

Mo

Monogamy

So

Social

Co

Colonial

Mi

Migrating

W

starts with

Gl

Gliding Animals
(collection)

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Oceans
Islands
Biogeographical realms

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. 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 of Colombia to Peru. Waved albatrosses are marine birds and mainly pelagic. Breeding takes place on bare lava among boulders and bushes, in fairly open areas. They are usually never far from the ocean, near feeding areas.

Waved Albatross habitat map

Climate zones

Habits and Lifestyle

Waved albatrosses often congregate in rafts, sitting on the surface of the sea. They mainly 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. They are spectacular flyers, perhaps even the most famous. They can fly for hours without stalling and they do this by dynamic soaring. The wind speed near the surface of the sea is much lower than about 50 ft (15 m) in the air and Waved albatrosses use this to their advantage by gliding at speed into the wind. However, Waved albatrosses do have difficulty in landing due to their high stalling speed, and in taking off due to the challenge of beating their massive wings. To make it easier they sometimes take off from cliffs that are somewhat inland rather than beside the coast.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Waved albatrosses are carnivores (piscivores, molluscivores) and scavengers. They eat large fish, squid, krill, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and other crustaceans. They will also scavenge for other food sources, including the regurgitated food of other birds.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
April-June
PREGNANCY DURATION
2 months
BABY CARRYING
1 egg
INDEPENDENT AGE
167 days
BABY NAME
chick

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. In January it leaves the colony and stays at sea for several years until it is able to breed. The young will reach reproductive maturity around 3 to 6 years.

Population

Population threats

Man is the greatest threat to the Waved albatross, mainly due to fishing activities but also to human consumption, and long-line fishing techniques both along the coasts and when the bird follows fishing vessels. Other threats are water pollution, chemicals, and oil slicks.

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 their numbers today are decreasing.

References

1. Waved Albatross Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waved_albatross
2. Waved Albatross on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22698320/0
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/332858

More Fascinating Animals to Learn About