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Wandering Albatross Facts

Kundan Pandey
Inhabitants of various parts of the world, right from Australia to Antarctica, Wandering Albatross is an amazing bird species. Read this story to know some interesting facts about it.
One of the lesser known and unfortunate Wandering Albatross facts is that this species has been categorized as "vulnerable" to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2008.
Its population has been steadily decreasing in regions like South Georgia Islands (southern Atlantic ocean), that has concerned environmentalists a great deal. While you go through numerous facts about the wandering albatross, remember to spread awareness about this unique species. Small efforts on our part to save such bird species, can count a lot.

An Overview of Facts About Wandering Albatross

A glance at a Wandering Albatross flying gracefully with its long span of wings at a steady but fast speed, over the frozen waters of Antarctica, or over the mighty Atlantic ocean, can be the most remarkable birdwatching moment for a bird lover.
Majestic in their appearance, aerodynamically brilliant, and fearless in their nature - Wandering Albatross are the real beauties of the sky. These fluffy, smooth, sleek and large feathered birds are masters in gliding.


With long narrow wings, large heads coupled with monolithic hooked bills, the Wandering Albatross is anything but an epitome of grace. Watch them from a distance and you misjudge them to be entirely white. Black wavy lines, crafted well on some parts of their white body, like the neck, breast and upper back, gives them an aesthetically pleasing look.
They have short tails and equally short legs. A female Wandering Albatross generally has brown spots on her wings. The hooked bills of these birds is pink in color, just like their feet. Males weigh five to six lbs. heavier than females, with the average male albatross weight being between 18 lbs. - 26 lbs.
With an average length of 107 - 135 cm (3.51 - 4.43 ft), the size of male birds is five to six feet longer than the females.


This sea bird is found predominantly in the Southern Hemispheric, extending from one of the coldest places on Earth, the Antarctic region to the warm, inhabitable Tropical regions. They are also found in New Zealand and Australia.

Eating Habits & Reproduction

Wandering Albatross mostly feed on fish, squids and floating waste. It generally lands for eating only during the night. Generally, these birds breed after every two years, and to do so, they choose secluded parts of islands. Generally, these birds migrate to far off Antarctic islands when commencement of the reproduction process begins.
They prepare big nests with mud and vegetation in the shape of mounds near the sea. During the chick's growth, parents ensure that it is properly looked after and they share the responsibilities of food collection and safeguarding the nests. Quite commendable indeed!

Marvelous Facts About the Wandering Albatross

These birds have an average lifespan of 80 to 85 years! Truly, a close friend of human beings.
Once a Wandering Albatross grow into an adult, it leaves its nest and returns to the island only after 7 to 8 years!
An important aspect about their mating, is that this species of albatross mates for life. No infidelity, indeed!
There are roughly 21 species of albatross, out of which 19 face the threat to extinction.
The most fascinating fact about Wandering Albatrosses, is that they have a wing span of nearly 11 feet. This makes them the biggest seabird alive!
Most of the lifetime of these birds is spent in the air. They can fly for thousands of miles without landing. The only time they land is for mating or for food search. They remain afloat in the air flying for hours without any stopping! Well, that is surely mystical!
Their name is derived from the fact that they wander most of the time, without stopping!
A Wandering Albatross is gifted with a salt gland. It is situated above its nasal passage. This gland serves the peculiar function of draining excess salt that comes in the bird's body after drinking salt water!
If a Wandering Albatross survives during its first year, it mostly lives up to 50 years or more. There are very few animal species that have such a tremendous adaptability.
These birds are travel freaks, or call them globe trotters. They are known as the animals who travel the most during their entire lifetime!
Since ancient times, it is a commonly held belief that killing a Wandering Albatross brings bad luck. Some sailors, in the olden days, hunted these birds for using their bones for manufacturing tobacco - pipe stems. In some places, they were hunted for food.
They follow ships for hours continuously, as if they are also traveling to the place where the ship is going. Certainly, silent companions of sailors, in their long and tiring journeys!
What's Killing Them...
  • Uncontrolled practice of long line fishing in areas where they are dominantly found.
  • Water pollution mainly due to complex chemicals in plastics.
  • Fishing hooks.
Going through the above Wandering Albatross facts must have triggered a desire within you to save these species. Countries are collaborating together to ban fishing of these birds, and natural reserves like The Prince Edward Islands in parts of sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean have been established to ensure that such species survive.