Albatross Facts

There are 21 different species of Albatross.

The Yellow Nosed Allbatross
This is a Yellow Nosed Albatross
The Laysan Allbatross
These are Laysan Albatrosses
The Black Browed
This is a Black Browed Albatross

Fact Two:

The Wandering Albatross has a wing span of up to 11'.
That makes it the bird with the largest wing span on the planet. Just to put that into perspective, the tallest basketball player in the NBA is 7'7''.

The Black Browed
This Wandering Albatross is having a morning stretch.

More Albatross Information


Sure, you probably knew the Albatross mates for life. But did you know they aren’t always monogamous? Both males and females “sleep around”. That doesn’t seem to affect the pair’s bond as they still stay committed and raise a chick together each breeding season. Pair bonds are not formed willy nilly; it can take over a year to raise an albatross chick, a serious commitment requiring a reliable partner.

This a Black Browed Albatross with it's chick.
This is a Black Browed Albatross chick with one of it's parents.
This Laysan Albatrosses performing their courtship dance.
These Laysan Albatrosses are performing their courtship dance.

A Natural Born Dancer

When an albatross reaches sexual maturity, it will fly to a breeding colony, but not to mate. It’s going there to practice “dancing”. The young albatross will rehearse their moves for a few years, learning what works and what doesn’t. They are born knowing the right behaviors but they don’t know how to read or respond to other birds. It takes practice to get it right. Sound familiar?

True Romantics

After practicing for a few years, albatrosses will start to dance for fewer and fewer birds, eventually picking a single partner. Partners will then continue to practice together creating a dance that is totally unique to them. No other Albatross pair will dance the same.

Waved Albatrosses performing their courtship dance.
Waved Albatrosses are performing their courtship dance on the Galapagos Islands.

Nesting Colonies

Albatrosses nest on remote islands, usually in exposed areas with good approaches from the sea. Some species of albatross like to nest under trees, some prefer dense colonies, and other species like widely spaced nests. Most albatrosses will usually return to the colony where they were born to nest.

There are a few accessible albatross nesting colonies. If you promise to follow all the rules and not disturb these super cool birds, we will tell you where you can go to visit one.

New Zealand
Galapagos Islands

Albatross Problems


Guess who threatens Albatrosses?
Humans, of course. Overfishing has depleted food sources, and hooks from longline fishing are often ingested and drown the birds.

Grey Headed Albatross Chick
This Grey Headed Albatross chick is judging you.
The Catshark
The Catshark is a real shark, but this isn't what it looks like.

Sharks and Cats

Feral cats and rats are also a big problem for the albatross. They are introduced to the remote islands where albatrosses breed and will hunt the albatross chicks and destroy their eggs.

Tiger Sharks are another challenge for the albatross. They gather on the shores of the breeding colonies and prey on young birds who are just learning to fly. That’s right, two of the albatrosses biggest problems are cats and tiger sharks. What else brings sharks and cats together?

More Pictures of Albatrosses

Because they are cool and awesome.

The Albatross is a big bird
This Albatross is dwarfing the other sea birds.
David Attenborough with an Albatross
Isn’t David Attenborough the coolest? This is him hanging out with an Albatross. My hero.
Laysan Albatross Chick
This is the adorable fuzzy face of a Laysan Albatross Chick.
The Wandering Albatross is the largest Albatross species.
This Wandering Albatross is little curious.
The Wandering Allbatross
This is a Wandering Albatross coming in for a landing.
The majestic Royal Albatross.
This Royal Albatross is majestic. Fact. Just look at this soar.