Black-footed Albatross

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Common Name: Black-footed Albatross
Scientific Name: Phoebastria nigripes

Size: 32 inches (81 cm)

Habitat: Northern Pacific Hemisphere They nest colonially on isolated islands of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (Laysan and Midway), and the Japanese islands of Tori Shima, Bonin, and Senkaku. Found from Alaska to California and Japan

Status: Endangered. Global Population: 120,000 mature individuals. It is taken incidentally by long-line fishing. An estimated 4,000 to 8,000 are taken every year. It is also vulnerable to oil and ingestion of floating plastics, which reduces the space in the stomach available for food to be brought to the chick. All of its nesting sites in the U.S. are protected.

Diet: Fish, flying fish eggs, squid and to a lesser extent crustaceans.

Nesting: Albatrosses form long term pair-bonds that last for life. After fledging the birds return to the colony after three years, and spend two years building nests, dancing and being with prospective mates, a behavior that probably evolved to ensure maximum trust between the birds (raising an albatross chick is a massive energetic investment, and a long courting period establishes for both birds that the other is committed).

Nests are simple depressions scraped in the sand, into which one egg is laid. The egg is incubated for just over two months (65 days). Both birds incubate the egg, the male incubating more as the female leaves soon after hatching to recoup reserves used for egg-laying. The average time spent on incubating shifts is 18 days. However, mates can wait up to 38 days to be relieved, and if something happens to the mate the other has been recorded incubating for 49 days without food or water.

The chick is brooded for 20 days by its parents, after which both parents leave the nest and return to feed the chick. The chick is fed regurgitated food by sticking its bill inside that of its parent. Fledging occurs after 140 days.

Cool Facts: The Black-footed Albatross is one of three Albatrosses found in the northern Hemisphere and is the only dark colored one.

Found in Songbird ReMix Seabirds and Songbird ReMix Hawai'i

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