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Black-footed Albatross

Phoebastria nigripes ORDER: PROCELLARIIFORMES FAMILY: DIOMEDEIDAE

IUCN Conservation Status: Vulnerable

The only dark albatross of the northern Pacific Ocean, the Black-footed Albatross nests primarily on the Hawaiian Islands. It wanders widely across the northern Pacific for most of the year, and is regularly seen off the west coast of North America.

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At a GlanceHelp

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
25.2–29.1 in
64–74 cm
Wingspan
76–85 in
193–216 cm
Weight
77.6–151.7 oz
2200–4300 g
Other Names
  • Albatros à pattes noires (French)
  • Albatros pies negros (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • The Black-footed Albatross has a keen sense of smell, which it uses to locate food across vast expanses of ocean.
  • The Black-footed Albatross drinks seawater and excretes excess salt through glands above the eyes.
  • The Black-footed Albatross has a number of apparent adaptations to stay cool at hot, exposed nest sites. These include an extensive network of blood vessels in the head, as well as a habit of raising the feet off the ground.

Habitat


Ocean

Nests in sandy areas on islands. Spends nonbreeding season on open ocean.

Food


Fish

Mostly flying fish eggs; also squid, adult flying fish, and crustaceans, as well as scraps thrown from ships.

Nesting

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size
1 eggs
Egg Description
White, with brown speckling at the larger end.
Condition at Hatching
Downy and helpless, eyes open.
Nest Description

Nest is a scrape in the sand.

Nest Placement

Ground

Behavior


Dabbler

Pair bond is formed and maintained through various displays, including bill-touching and head-shaking.Feeds while swimming on the surface.

Conservation

status via IUCN

Vulnerable

Drift nets kill large numbers of Black-footed Albatrosses (4,426 deaths documented in 1990). Also vulnerable to oil pollution of marine waters.

Credits

  • Whittow, G. Causey. 1993. Black-footed Albatross (Diomedea nigripes). In The Birds of North America, No. 65 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Black-footed Albatross Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings

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Masters of the Wind and Sea: Taking vital steps to save the world's magnificent albatrosses. Story and photos in Living Bird magazine.