Waved Albatros

Phoebastria irrorata           Diomedeidae

Distribution: Only in the offshore waters of Central south America from northern Chile to northern Ecuador and west to the Galápagos.

Habitat: Pelagic rarely approaching shore except to breed.

Appearance:  P. irrorata are medium-sized albatrosses, measuring about 86–90 cm (34–35 in) long, weighing in at 3.4 kg (7.5 lb), and having a wingspan 2.25m or 7.4 ft.  They are distinctive for their yellowish-cream neck and head, which contrasts with their mostly brownish bodies. They have a very long, bright yellow bill, which looks disproportionately large in comparison to the relatively small head and long, slender neck. They also have chestnut brown upper parts and underparts, except for the breast, with fine barring, a little coarser on the rump. They have brown upper-wings, back, and tail, along with a whitish breast and underwings. Their axillaries are brown. Finally they have blue feet. Juveniles are similar to adults except for more white on their head.   Chicks have brown fluffy feathers.

Diet: Fish squid and occasional crustaceans.

Remarks: P. irrorata has been observed attacking boobies forcing them to dislodge fish they have captured which the albatrosses then claim as their own.

Waved Albatrosses do have difficulty taking off and landing due to their huge wings and slender bodies. To make it easier they sometimes take off on cliffs that are more inland and not next to the coast. The problem is when they come in to land they have a high stalling speed, and when they take off it’s hard to beat their massive wings.

For reproduction see Ron’s Aquarium photos on flickr link  below.