Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross gliding effortlessly over open waters

What does it look like? Its large size and white plumage, with fine black wavy lines on the breast neck and upper back, and mottled with black on the back, readily distinguish it. It has the longest wingspan of all bird species. 

Where does it live? The Wandering Albatross breeds on subantarctic islands, beginning in early December, but spends the majority of its life soaring low above the southern oceans.

What are its habitats and habits? No other species of bird has grasped the admiration and respect of birdwatchers and fishermen alike. The Wandering Albatross may spend several days following a ship, gliding effortlessly on long slender wings, in all but the calmest winds. Birds will readily scavenge from fishing boats and the surface of the water, but squid and fish are the preferred food. This penchant for squid has made the bird at risk from the longlines that are used by ocean trawlers. The albatross becomes hooked and drowns as they take the bait and are then dragged along behind the boat.

Scientific name: Diomedea exulans

Size: 80 to 135cm Total Length; c. 200cm Wingspan

Do you want to know the best places to go to see this species? Check out our book “Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots” – available for purchase through our secure online store