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Albatrosses: Diomedeidae

Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Chatham Mollymawk (diomedea Cauta Eremita): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, ALBATROSSES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


Albatrosses are found in the northern Pacific Ocean, Galápagos Islands to the coasts of Ecuador and Peru. They are also found in the Southern Hemisphere on coastal waters.

Squid is the favorite food of the albatross. Because many squid glow in the dark, albatross often feed at night. They also eat the carcasses of seals, penguins, whales, and other marine life. In addition to fish, albatrosses consume crabs, krill, seaweed, and small seabirds. Most food is found at the water's surface, though albatrosses have been known to dive and swim underwater for short distances (up to 16 feet [5 meters]) while foraging for food.

Albatrosses were revered by some seafarers as a good luck sign. Others believed that to see an albatross at sea was warning of an oncoming storm. Fishermen depend on the albatross to show them where large populations of fish are located, and the harvesting of chicks (legally and illegally) goes on today. They are hunted for sport as well as food and scientific specimens.

There are not enough data to determine the rate of increase or decline for most species, but albatrosses are not in danger of extinction. Changes in global climate are responsible for the decrease in some species, such as the northern royal albatross. Changing sea temperatures also negatively affect food distribution and availability.

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Animal Life ResourceBirds