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


Flying and Feeding

Wandering Albatross - Flickr © Liam Q CC BY 2.0The wandering albatross has a huge home range consisting of the 77 million square kilometres of the southern oceans. It can circle the world from the Tropics to Antarctica! Although an albatross often has difficulty in taking off, especially if there is no wind to help it, once airbourne it can fly for long periods. The bird glides down towards the sea on folded wings and when just above the water, it swings sharply into the wind and is blown back up to its original height by the rising air. In this way, the bird progresses in a series of zig-zags. If there are no air currents, the albatross will land on the sea.

The albatross usually feeds far out at sea, alone or in groups. It swoops down to land on the surface and catches its main prey - octopus, squid and cuttlefish - with its large bill, which can be as much as 18cm in length. Sometimes shallow dives are made to catch fish and other creatures below the surface. Albatrosses seem to like refuse from ships too, flopping down into the water and sometimes following a ship for days, waiting for scraps to be thrown overboard.

Read More: Breeding

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