Belonging to the Diomedeidae family, an Albatross is a giant seabird with a length of nearly 135 centimetres. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has recognized almost 22 species of this bird.
1. Albatross is generally white, with grey-black wings. It has strong legs, supporting an average body weight of 6 to 12 kilograms while strolling. The percentage of weight in wings is more than that of its muscle mass.
2. An average Albatross has a strong, hooked, sharp-edged, and about 10-centimetre long beak. It can measure the airspeed in flight through the two long nostrils on either side of its beak.
3. An Albatross has the largest wingspan among all the birds (about 6.5 to 11 feet). Bearing the title of ‘great glider’, the bird can fly for almost 80000 kilometres without touching land!
4. Albatrosses have the highest efficiency when travelling, covering long distances by spending significantly lesser energy. Thanks to specialized gliding techniques like dynamic soaring and slope soaring. Like an aeroplane, an Albatross also requires some run-up on land before taking off.
5. Since it is a seabird, an Albatross mainly feeds on seafood like squids, octopus, fish, crabs, shrimps, etc. Although they pounce upon the food that floats on the sea surface, they can also dive as deep as 5-meters into the water to hunt for food.
6. These birds take their relationships very seriously. Their courting period usually lasts for two years! During that time, you can often find the romantic male bird raising its beak and stretching its wings. He performs a mating dance to impress the female counterpart.
7. Like a power couple, the male and female Albatrosses build a nest together before the breeding process. The female Albatross lays eggs every two years. While one of them hunts for food, the other guards the eggs since the embryo dies if the eggs are not kept warm.
8. Most of the Albatrosses have a significantly good lifespan of nearly 60 years. At the age of 5 years, the offspring of an Albatross attains sexual maturity. It can breed when it turns 7!
9. The Southern Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean are the main habitats of an Albatross. While most species reside in the Southern hemisphere (the short-tailed, black-footed), Laysan Albatross have the North Pacific Ocean as their habitat.
10. Out of the 22 species of Albatross, eight species are endangered, and seven are vulnerable! Moreover, the remaining seven species are nearly threatened.
11. Factors like feather harvesting, pollution, a decline in fish stocks, and attacks on eggs and chicks of Albatross by rats and feral cats, etc., have contributed to a reduction in the number of Albatrosses.
As per the studies, Albatrosses are not too fond of humans. Indeed.
While most Albatrosses do not show any specific reaction, some run around like crazy when approached by humans. Sudhar Jao Jaanwaro!
As a response to stress, Albatrosses produce a hormone that can degrade their physical fitness. At last, survival is above all.
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