Friday, September 23, 2011

Waved Albatross

The largest bird in the Galapagos is also one of the most beautiful to watch- the critically endangered Waved Albatross. These large birds can measure up to 3 feet long and have a wingspan of over 7 feet. They have beautiful cream necks, yellow beaks and grey white bodies with a slightly waved pattern in the ombre of their feathers. They breed primarily on Espanola island and during non-breeding season fish off the coast of Peru and Ecuador. They have an elaborate courtship ritual where they walk up to each other swaying from side to side then bow their bodies to each other, clack their beaks together and mimic each others movements. Their chicks are small brown fuzzy little babies and they feed them oil they produce that they babies eat from inside the parents mouth. Disease and illegal fishing- especially long-line fishing is making a severe impact on the species and in the last 10 years they have been reclassified from vulnerable to critically endangered by the IUCN. Many of the birds are now in a banding program which can track their cause of death more precisely.

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Waved Albatross Courtship from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

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