Here's ten things you didn't know about albatrosses. Pay particular attention to number ten and find out what you can do to help...
- Albatrosses mate for life and take many years to find a new mate if their partner is
- killed – if they find a new partner at all
- Most birds lay more than one egg at a time but albatrosses lay just one egg a year. Once the chick has hatched, the parents take turns to find food for it
- Apparently, most albatrosses sleep while gliding in the air. They are sometimes seen asleep on the water, but this makes them easy targets for killer whales and hunters in kayaks.
- Albatrosses catch squid and fish from the surface of the water. They have special stomachs that digest some of the food but keep aside a fishy oil, which they vomit back up for their chick when they get back. Yum!
- A grey-headed albatross was once recorded flying the whole way round the world in just 46 days
- The wandering albatross holds the record for the bird with the largest wingspan. Some individuals measure 3.5 metres. They spend most of their life on the wing, returning to land only to court a mate and to breed
- An albatross’s bill is large and strong, ending in a hook shape. Along the sides of the bill are two “tubes”. These tubes are actually long nostrils that give albatrosses a keen sense of smell, which is unusual among birds.
- Nature intended the albatross to live a long life, some live to 60 years and beyond.
- These birds have been around for a hundred times longer than us human beings, but soon they may all be gone.
19 of the world's 21 albatross species are seriously threatened by long-line fishing, a method commonly used by commercial fishing fleets where the boats set fishing lines that can stretch for 130 kilometres.
Each line carries thousands and thousands of hooks baited with squid and fish. These attract albatrosses, which get caught, dragged below the water and drown. Albatrosses are exceptionally vulnerable to the impacts of long-lining as they cannot breed fast enough to cope with the rate at which they are being killed.
Peregrine is committed to helping get the albatross off the hook. Since 2001, we have raised over $600,000 in support of a range of projects to help save the albatross. Onboard donations from staff and passengers to our Get The Albatross Off The Hook fund allow us to support several major projects aimed at stopping the decimation of albatross populations.