Return of Bird of the Week: Black-browed Albatross


So we go from a few weeks of birds that cannot fly, to birds that can only barely land, the albatrosses.

Black-browed Albatross in flight, Southern Ocean

Black-browed Albatross in flight, Southern Ocean

The Black-browed is a medium-sized member of the albatross family, with a wing span of seven to eight feet. This bird lives in the air, landing on the ocean only when the wind dies, something that doesn’t happen often in the Southern Ocean. It comes to land only to breed. It is a magnificent flier and an enthusiastic ship-follower. WC watched the birds from the stern of his ship as they pirouetted across the sky, flying fractions of an inch over the waves, without ever, once flapping their wings.

Black-browed Albatross on her egg, West Island, Falkland Islands

Black-browed Albatross on her egg, West Island, Falkland Islands

Black-broweds breed every one to two years, laying a single egg. The fledgling takes ten years to reach sexual maturity, but then Black-broweds are a long-lived species, more then 70 years.

Although there are about 1.2 million Black-browed Albatrosses, the species is in overall decline at about 0.7% a year. Long-line fishing kills large numbers. Climate change may be having an impact on their prey as well.

Did WC mention they are beautiful, too?

Black-browed Albatross Portrait, West Island, Falkland Islands

Black-browed Albatross Portrait, West Island, Falkland Islands

 

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