The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any bird and is perhaps the most magnificent of all twelve species of albatross.

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Breeding

The albatross is a very long-lived bird but it does not start breeding until it is at least seven years old. The breeding grounds are usually on the top of cliffs where the birds can take off easily in the prevailing winds.

The parents brood their chick for a short time and it is fed daily for the first 20 days with regurgitated squid, etc. Then the parents leave their offspring alone while they go out to sea and return every 10 days or so to feed it with huge meals. At this stage, the chick may be vulnerable to predators such as skuas, who will eat both eggs and chicks if left unguarded. The large, fluffy white chick continues to sit in its nest and is fed throughout the whole of the severe southern winter, until the following summer - a period of nearly nine months. As a result, the parents can only breed every other year. Eventually the young albatross launches itself into the wind and glides away over the ocean. It may circle the globe many times before returning to the breeding ground to look for a mate.

Read More: Dancing Birds

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