Albatross Facts

Albatross Facts
Albatross is a type of sea bird. There are 21 species of albatross that live mainly in the south hemisphere. They inhabit Antarctica, Australia, South Africa and South America. Rare species of albatross live in the northern hemisphere and inhabit Alaska, Hawaii and California. Albatross spends almost entire life on the ocean. It can be seen on the land only during the mating season. 19 out of 21 albatross species are endangered because of the by-catch (birds end up trapped in the fishing nets), decrease of their natural prey, introduction of invasive species (which eat eggs and young birds) and massive hunting.
Interesting Albatross Facts:
Size of albatross depends on the species. They can reach 35 to 51 inches in length and weigh between 17 and 22 pounds.
Wandering albatross has a wingspan of 11 feet. This is the biggest wingspan in the world of birds.
Body of albatross is covered with white, black, brown, red or yellow feathers. They were used for decoration of hats in the past.
Albatross has big head with strong, hooked beak. Since albatross mainly eats slippery prey, beak has sharp blades on the side to prevent loss of the catch.
Albatross has excellent eyesight and sense of smell. It can find the prey even in the dark.
Albatross is diurnal animal (active during the day).
Albatross is a carnivore (meat eater). Its diet consists of different type of fish, krill, crabs and squids.
Albatross searches for the prey from the sky. When potential target is detected, albatross rushes toward the water and dives to grab it. Albatross can also catch the prey located on the surface of the water.
Albatross is highly proficient in the air. It usually flies by using strong wind currents. This method preserves the energy and ensures longer flights. Flight with the help of wind is known as dynamic soaring.
Albatross can reach the speed of 40 miles per hour. It can fly long period of time without rest.
Albatross does not have a lot of natural enemies. Besides humans, main predator is tiger shark which hunts young birds that are learning to fly.
Albatrosses will gather on the isolated and remote island for mating. They usually breed every 18 months. Certain species are monogamous.
Breeding couple has only one egg. Both parents take care of their offspring. They produce oily substance to feed the chick until it becomes capable for eating fish and other sea creatures.
Depending on the species, young albatross will become independent at the age between 5 and 10 months. It will leave the ground and spend next 5 to 7 years on the ocean. After that period, it will return to the island to mate.
Albatross has very long lifespan. It can survive up to 50 years in the wild.

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