Diomedeidae
Return to Albatrosses at Work

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Grey-headed
Albatross
Yellow-nosed
Albatross
Shy
Albatross
Black-footed
Albatross
Waved
Albatross
Laysan
Albatross
 
Albatrosses are members of the family Diomedeidae, in the bird order Procellariformes. Their relatives in this order are the petrels and fulmars. Most albatrosses are residents of the southern hemisphere, especially around New Zealand, Tasmania, and islands around Antarctica. Only four species nest north of the equator: waved albatross (in the Galápagos Islands), short-tailed albatross (near Japan), Laysan albatross, and black-footed albatross (both in the northwest Hawaiian Islands and other north Pacific islands).

Albatrosses are known for their courtship dances, in which males and females get to know each other as mates. After courtship they begin nesting and the raising of a chick. The dances involve a lot of pointing to the sky, touching bills, making a clappering sound with the bill, and sometimes making "moo" calls, which sound like a cow mooing.

Courting albatrosses
and the end product,
a large chick, still with
its downy feathers.

This page last updated on May 23, 2000 07:52 AM