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. Its large size (80 to 135cm) 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. 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. The Wandering Albatross breeds on subantarctic islands, beginning in early December.
Scientific name: Diomedea exulans