Albatross is one of the most popular species of the seabird. You can easily find them in the Southern ocean, such as New Zealand, and the North Pacific area such as Hawaii. They are known for their white and black feathers with a pointed yellow beak. Albatross are definitely one of the most magnificent bird species especially when they are flying high. However, there are some quirky and unexpected sides to them that you might not know.
We are going to get to know them deeper, both their magnificent and not-so magnificent side. There are important life lessons that you can adopt from observing how these albatrosses do their life. Apparently, they are very relatable species to study about. You will definitely fall in love with them by the end of this video.
1. Largest Wingspan
The albatross, specifically the wandering albatross, gets itself the title of having the largest wingspan in the world. It goes up to 12 feet long. Scientists believe that there used to be one bird species that has a wingspan up to 17 feet long. However, this bird has long been extinct, leaving the albatross to be on top of the category.
The big wingspan also contributes to the albatross ability to fly for a long distance and in a very long time. The wandering albatross, just like its name suggests, is the albatross who has the nature of wandering around from here and there soaring up in the sky without the need of landings. This is how they make good use of their large wingspan.
2. Master of Flying
With its super wide wingspan, albatross tend to soar in the sky rather than just clap their wings up and down to fly. This enables them to fly on the ocean for up to 6 years without the need of landing on land. They have mastered the use of wind and different forces such as gravity, sheer force, thermal, and dra. Albatross needs two months to fly all around the globe. We can say that albatross is a master in flying.
3. Marriage Tip From Albatross
There are so many things you can learn from albatross. Apparently, you can get the best marriage tips from albatross. Studies have shown that a low divorce rate is found super low among albatrosses in comparison to other bird species. They have found at least two key reasons that make this possible. First, albatrosses are indeed 100 percent faithful. Male albatross do occasionally have a dalliance with other female albatrosses, but the real couple stays together even for decades.
Some were found to be still raising chicks even in their 60s. Second, they know that distance keeps their relationship stronger. So, albatross couples could spend months apart without knowing what their partner is doing. They will somehow get together at the same time to reproduce. The timing is always on point as if they have set a certain time before they separate. These two values: commitment and healthy boundaries, are also applicable to human marriage in order for it to last for a lifetime.
4. Dedicated Parents
Not only can you learn about marriage from them, but also on family planning and parenting. Unlike other birds, they only give birth to one albatross at a time. Also, they reproduce once every two years. They don’t rush on having more chicks several times a year. The two albatross parents are only able to raise one kid every two year.
Albatross eggs take up to 80 days to hatch, which is the longest incubation period of any bird. For those two years, the albatross parents would dedicate their whole energy to take care of their chick, which usually took 8 months. You can see that they are not only committed lovers to their partners, but also dedicated parents to the young.
5. Albatross Lives A Long Life
Albatrosses are blessed with long life. Wisdom, the celebrity albatross is currently about 70 years old. She is a Laysan albatross who was banned in 1956 when she was only five years old. People say that albatross usually outlived their researchers which is why we are not actually sure whether Wisdom is a special long lived albatross or long lived albatross is actually a usual occurrence.
It is no longer a surprise that Wisdom apparently has outlived the biologist who banded her in 1956, Chandler Robbins, who died in 2017 at the age of 98. Despite it all, Wisdom has successfully drawn so many people to be interested in her lif6. e and the dangerous condition albatross generally has to face as a seabird.
6. Endangered of Albatross Species
Out of 22 albatross species in the world, 19 of them are endangered. Albatross only hatch one egg every two years so there aren’t so many newborns or should we say new hatched albatross each year. However, the sea environment and condition today is not favorable for them to live.
With extreme climate changes, plastic pollution, and invasive mice, it is hard for albatrosses to strive. They are also fighting against humans to get fish or squids for food. We can say that humans are basically one of their biggest threats. Our imbalance and irregular activities have caused threats on the magnificent albatross.
7. Smelling Their Dinner
Being carnivorous and a predator, you might expect them to have good eyesight. However, that’s not the case for albatros. They rely on their excellent sense of smell to catch their prey. Apparently, albatros could smell their dinner 20 kilometers away. It is super fascinating because it is not easy to smell their trail in the ocean due to the wind direction and condition even for the albatrosses. However, they still manage to smell their food despite the situation. Albatros knows how to make use of the wind’s direction to find the trail.
8. Dating Tips
Another life lesson to learn from an albatross is on how to find the one. Since albatrosses marry for life, it is necessary for them to find the right partner to spend the rest of their long life with. This is why they will take time in trying to get to know different individuals and their compatibility as life partners.
It is common for albatrosses to spend years on finding the right partner before they settle down and mate. They will spend as much time with their date before they make the big decision to mate for life. If albatrosses know how to do this naturally and eventually become the most successful couplers among the birds, we should take note and do the same if we want to find the right life long partner for ourselves.
9. The Gooney Bird
The albatross is also known as the “gooney bird”. The word “gooney” itself means weird. Albatross got its name due to its awkward landing after a flight. People find it super weird because the albatross is such an efficient flight. Every time they are going to land, they will tumble over comically. Despite being the best wings to fly, they are not so good for takeoff and landing.
The narrow wings do not allow them to have a slow smooth landing which causes them to use their feet and tumble over when they land. For taking off, they will build their nest on higher altitude and drop themselves in accordance with the direction of the wind to take off. The wind is their best friend on this matter. You can see how weird this looks in cartoons that include them.
10. Dancing Kings and Queens of Albatross
Albatros turn into dancing kings and queens when they are dating. It is their way to get to know their future spouse. They say their dancing style is part of their fingerprint. It is something unique to each individual albatross. There are at least 22 different dance moves that each pair will do. Eventually, they will make a dance sequence that is unique to each albatross couple. Thus, they use this “dancing print” to check whether they are compatible to be lifelong partners.
11. Albatross Drinks Saltwater
Being seabirds just like penguins, gulls, and pelicans, they have built-in desalination filters. They have a salt gland located above their eyes that will enable their body to throw away excess salts from direct drinking of seawater and eating salty prey such as fish and squid. The super salty fluid will be excreted from their nostrils and bills. This is how their body manages the salt level inside their body. Then, they don’t have to worry about consuming water and food from the sea.
12. They Actually Dive
Some species of albatross could actually dive into deeper sea level. For example, the black-browned albatross could dive to 19m below sea level for around 52 seconds. On the other hand, the light-mantled albatrosses regularly dive below 12m deep to feed. Despite having this ability, most albatrosses choose to prey at the surface level to prevent predators from below the sea.
13. Female-Female Pair Phenomenon
This female-female pair is a phenomenon that we can see in Laysan albatrosses living in Hawaii where the breeding colony is dominated by females. The two females will raise their chicks together after their eggs are fertilized by unpaired males or via extra pair copulation with already paired-males.
Due to the recent condition, these albatross naturally need to adapt to this method of breeding. Even though the female-female pair produces less chicks compared to the original female-male pair, it is still better than not producing any chicks at all. Since 2008, scientists have taken note of this behavior. It is a way for albatrosses to adapt and survive despite the undesirable condition.
14. Bird Celebrity
In New Zealand, you can experience one of their famous tourist attractions which is bird watching. Around 40,000 pairs of eyes come to see this magnificent bird species in its natural space. Instead of feeling disturbed and annoyed by the huge number of visitors coming by, the albatross actually enjoys the attention and company from human beings. If you ever get to New Zealand, you have to go and see these albatrosses. They are very well taken care of and their natural habitat is being preserved well.
15. Symbolizes Both Bad and Good Luck
In psychology, the term albatross means a psychological burden that feels like a curse. Among the sailors, they believe that albatross carries the sound of dead mariners. Thus, some believe that it is a bad omen signifying danger. Others, however, believe that it is a good omen signifying protection from their fellow mariners for them as they journey to the sea. So, do you think albatross is a good or bad luck symbol?
The albatross is surely a unique bird. We can definitely learn many things from them, especially on how to take life more slowly and trust the timing of the universe. On the other hand, it also teaches us how to nourish and nurture our relationship in a good way for it to last for a long time.