Black-footed Albatross

The Black-footed Albatross, Phoebastria nigripes, is a large seabird from the North Pacific. It is one of three albatross that range in the northern hemisphere, nesting on isolated tropical islands. They nest colonially on isolated islands of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the Japanese islands of Torishima Island, Bonin, and Senkaku. Their range at sea varies during the seasons and they may feed from Alaska to California and Japan.

Like all of the albatross family, the Black-footed Albatross forms long term pairs that last for life. After the young leaves their nest they return to the main colony three years later to court a prospective mate. Once a single egg is laid, both birds will incubate the egg , however the male tends to the nest more as the female leaves soon after hatching to recover reserves used up from egg-laying. The incubation period lasts 65 days. After hatching, the chick is brooded for 20 days after which both parents will leave the nest to find food for feeding. The young bird leaves its nest after 140 days.

The Black-footed Albatross feeds in pelagic waters, taking fish, mostly the eggs of flying fish, squid and to a lesser extent, crustaceans. It also takes kitchen scraps from ships and will consume floating debris, including plastics.

The Black-footed Albatross is considered endangered due to long-line fishing. An estimated four to eight thousand birds are taken every year. All of its nesting sites in the United Sates are protected.