New study—how to save a seabird

In the 1990s, the endangered status of the short-tailed albatross catalyzed efforts to reduce the number of birds accidentally killed as bycatch in Alaska, home to the country's biggest fisheries. Marine fisheries scientist ...

Engineers identify key to albatross' marathon flight

The albatross is one of the most efficient travelers in the animal world. One species, the wandering albatross, can fly nearly 500 miles in a single day, with just an occasional flap of its wings. The birds use their formidable ...

Artificial nests aim to increase Shy Albatross breeding success

Specially built mudbrick and aerated concrete artificial nests, airlifted on to Bass Strait's Albatross Island in a trial program aimed at increasing the breeding success of the Tasmanian Shy Albatross, appear to have been ...

Albatross feces show diet of fishery discards

Albatross feed on several fish species that are not easy for the birds to access in nature, but which are caught by commercial fisheries, finds a study in open-access journal Frontiers in Marine Science. This indicates a ...

A rare window on the lives of young albatrosses

Understanding population dynamics is crucial for the conservation of long-lived species like albatrosses, but collecting data on albatrosses before they reach adulthood and begin to breed is challenging. A new study from ...

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Albatross

Diomedea Thalassarche Phoebastria Phoebetria

Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds allied to the procellariids, storm-petrels and diving-petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there too and occasional vagrants are found.

Albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but there is disagreement over the number of species.

Albatrosses are highly efficient in the air, using dynamic soaring and slope soaring to cover great distances with little exertion. They feed on squid, fish and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing or diving. Albatrosses are colonial, nesting for the most part on remote oceanic islands, often with several species nesting together. Pair bonds between males and females form over several years, with the use of 'ritualised dances', and will last for the life of the pair. A breeding season can take over a year from laying to fledging, with a single egg laid in each breeding attempt.

Of the 21 species of albatrosses recognised by the IUCN, 19 are threatened with extinction. Numbers of albatrosses have declined in the past due to harvesting for feathers, but today the albatrosses are threatened by introduced species such as rats and feral cats that attack eggs, chicks and nesting adults; by pollution; by a serious decline in fish stocks in many regions largely due to overfishing; and by long-line fishing. Long-line fisheries pose the greatest threat, as feeding birds are attracted to the bait, become hooked on the lines, and drown. Identified stakeholders such as governments, conservation organisations and people in the fishing industry are all working toward reducing this bycatch.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA