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Black-footed Albatross Life History


Habitat OceansNests in sandy areas on islands. Spends nonbreeding season on open ocean.Back to top


Food FishMostly flying fish eggs; also squid, adult flying fish, and crustaceans, as well as scraps thrown from ships.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Nest is a scrape in the sand.

Nesting Facts

Clutch Size:1 egg
Egg Description:White, with brown speckling at the larger end.
Condition at Hatching:Downy and helpless, eyes open.
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Behavior DabblerPair bond is formed and maintained through various displays, including bill-touching and head-shaking.Feeds while swimming on the surface.Back to top


Conservation Restricted RangeThe North American Waterbird Conservation Plan estimates a population of 148,000 breeding Black-footed Albatross in North America, rates the species a 16 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, and lists it as a Species of Highest Concern. Though populations appear stable, these birds are at risk due to fishing practices, sea-level rise, storm surges, and oil pollution of marine waters. Drift nets kill large numbers of Black-footed Albatrosses (4,426 deaths documented in 1990). Black-footed Albatross is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action.Back to top


Awkerman, Jill A., David J. Anderson and G. Causey Whittow. (2008). Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Kushlan, J. A., M. J. Steinkamp, K. C. Parsons, J. Capp, M. A. Cruz, M. Coulter, I. Davidson, L. Dickson, N. Edelson, R. Elliott, R. M. Erwin, S. Hatch, S. Kress, R. Milko, S. Miller, K. Mills, R. Paul, R. Phillips, J. E. Saliva, W. Sydeman, J. Trapp, J. Wheeler and K. Wohl (2002). Waterbird conservation for the Americas: The North American waterbird conservation plan, version 1. Washington, DC, USA.

Lutmerding, J. A. and A. S. Love. (2020). Longevity records of North American birds. Version 2020. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory 2020.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative. (2014). The State of the Birds 2014 Report. US Department of Interior, Washington, DC, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley Guide to Birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, USA.

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