Falkland Islands, January 2012
One of my favorite birds is the albatross. In this case, the Black-browed Albatross.
The albatross chicks were the cutest chicks we saw on this trip. They must have been six to eight weeks old. All of the
chicks were still on the mud nests where their egg was laid.
Below, an albatross chick being groomed by its parent.
The Black-browed Albatross is the most common species of albatross. The Black-browed Albatross is a medium-sized
albatross, at 31–37 inches long with a 79–94 inch wingspan and an average weight of 6 to 10 lb..They can have a
natural lifespan of over 70 years. There are an estimated 600,00 breeding pairs, as estimated by a 2005 count. Of
these birds, 400,00 breed in the Falkland Islands.
This species normally nests on steep slopes covered with tussock grass and sometimes on cliffs.
They are an annual breeder laying one egg from between September 20 and November 1. Incubation is done by both
sexes and last 68 to 71 days. After hatching, the chicks take 120 to 130 days to fledge. Juveniles will return to the
colony after 2 to 3 years but only to practice courtship rituals, as they will start breeding around the 10th year.
The chicks sat on the nests quietly. Occasionally they would flap their wings, an instinct, it seemed, to start
strengthening the muscles.
Sometimes there are rockhoppers and cormorants mixed in with the albatross colony.
Sadly, long line fishing has been responsible for a slow but constant decline in the population of these majestic birds.