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Black-footed Albatross


IUCN Conservation Status: Near Threatened

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.

At a GlanceHelp

Both Sexes
25.2–29.1 in
64–74 cm
76–85 in
193–216 cm
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.
  • The oldest recorded Black-footed Albatross was a male, and at least 42 years, 1 month old, when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations.



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



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


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




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


status via IUCN

Near Threatened

The 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.


Range Map Help

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

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