A smaller member of the albatross family, the Light-manted Sooty Albatross (sometimes called the Light-mantled Albatross) is another circumpolar species.
The species is “small” only in relation to other albatrosses. With a wingspan of six to seven feet and a weight of as much as eight pounds, the bird is larger than Golden Eagle and much, much more aerobatic.
There are only about 58,000 birds remaining, and the species is in decline. Another victim of long-line fishing, their situation is worsened by their very slow reproductive rates. On average, birds only begin breeding when they are 8 to 15 years old, after which they breed biennially, fledging a chick every five years or so. They are capable of breeding until at least 32 years old and living to 40 or longer. But you can see that, on average, a Light-mantled pair is only going to produced 4-5 chicks over the course of their long lives. They are classified by the IUCN as near-threatened.
They are a beautiful, elegant bird and WC is grateful for getting to see and photograph them.
For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.