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Created on Day 5

on April 12, 2012

With its large wings, the albatross uses wind currents to aid in extended flights.

Design

Albatross

With its large wings, the albatross uses wind currents to aid in extended flights. This bird utilizes a unique method of flight called dynamic soaring, usually only flapping its wings on takeoff and landing. In order to take off, the albatross takes a running start with outstretched wings. In calm weather, this bird floats in the ocean.

Features

  • The albatross is one of the largest flying birds with wings that are long and narrow.
  • Depending on the species, the body is predominately white or light to dark gray.
  • The bill is covered in plates and along the sides are two tubes, which are actually long nostrils.

Fun Facts

  • The wandering and royal albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any bird, up to 11 ft (3.4 m) from tip to tip.
  • Albatrosses generally mate for life. This mate is usually selected after courtship “dances,” which include bill-circling, sky-pointing, and flank-touching.
  • The albatross is among the most oceanic of all seabirds, and it seldom approaches land except to breed.
  • Each year an albatross can cover a distance equivalent to flying around the earth at the equator three times.
  • The heart of the wandering albatross actually beats slower during flight than when sitting on the sea.

CLASS: Aves (birds)
ORDER: Procellariiformes (tube-nosed seabirds)
FAMILY: Diomedeidae (albatrosses)
GENUS/SPECIES: Four genera with about 20 species

Size: 2–4 ft (0.6– 1.2 m); wingspan up to 11 ft (3.4 m)
Weight: 10–20 lbs (4.5–9 kg)
Diet: Fish, crustaceans, octopuses, and squid
Habitat: Southern hemisphere from Antarctica to Australia, South Africa, and South America; North Pacific, from Hawaii To Japan, California, and Alaska