Wandering Albatross

The Wandering Albatross, (Diomedea exulans), is a large seabird from the family Diomedeidae which has a circumpolar range in the Southern Ocean. At breeding time they occupy loose colonies on isolated island groups in the Southern Ocean, such as Crozet Islands, South Georgia, Marion Island, Prince Edward Island, Kerguelen and Macquarie Island. Together with the Tristan, Antipodean and Amsterdam Albatross it forms the Wandering Albatross species complex.

The Wandering Albatross has the largest wingspan of any bird, up to 11 ½ feet from tip to tip. The length of the body is up to 4.5 feet with females being slightly smaller than males, and adults weigh from 13 to 24 lbs. The plumage varies with age, but is white overall on breeding adults except for the tips and trailing edges of the wings. The Wandering Albatross is the whitest of the Wandering Albatross species complex, the other species having a great deal more brown and black on the wings and body as breeding adults. The large bill is pink, as are the feet.

They feed on squid, small fish and on animal refuse that floats on the sea, eating to such excess at times that they are unable to fly and rest helplessly on the water. They lay one slightly spotted white egg that is about 4 inches long. Their nests are large cones built of vegetation that are 1 meter wide at the base and half a meter wide at the apex.

The Wandering Albatross is one of the best known and studied species of bird in the world.