Longest Living Bird

June 9, 2023 // 29 minutes read

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Longest Living Bird
What Is The Longest Living Bird? Exploring the Ageless Wonders of the Avian World

Have you ever wondered about the longest-living birds in the world? How long do they live? Do any of them live as long as human beings? Find the answers to these questions and more today.

The albatross is the longest-living bird in the world. The Laysan Albatross is documented to live for 50 years, 8 months in the wild. The Black-Footed Albatross can live 40 years, 8 months. The Great Frigatebird, 3 terns, Red-Tailed Tropicbird, and Atlantic Puffin are also birds with longevity.

When compared to other mammals, birds live remarkably long lives based on their body size. They have higher resting glucose, body temperature, and metabolic rates than most other mammals. These parameters undoubtedly aid in their ability to live long and healthy lives.

From an ecological standpoint, bird research is ideal because it helps aid in conservation efforts and health. For example, some birds are considered anti-aging superstars, like the Laysan Albatross. Gaining more knowledge and a better understanding of these birds can help improve human longevity as well as contribute to conservation efforts all around the world.

Today, I’m going to cover the following topics in greater detail:

  • Understanding bird longevity
  • The longest living bird in the world
  • Other long-lived birds in the world
  • The importance of studying long-lived birds
  • and more

Would you like to learn more about the longest living birds in the world? Continue reading to find out more about these magnificent birds and their ability to live long lives!

Understanding Bird Longevity

Bird longevity is the potential to reach a bird’s maximum lifespan while living in their natural habitat throughout the world. Some birds will only live for a few years, like hummingbirds and warblers, while others can go on living for many decades, including ostriches and albatrosses.

According to American Bird Conservancy,

By learning a few basic facts about how birds age, however, we can gain some interesting insights into bird lifespans and even begin to understand which of the familiar species around us are likely to be living longer (and shorter) lives.

The most accurate definition of longevity is determining the ideal lifespan of a healthy bird within its natural environment and habitat. Longevity is achieved when the bird dies from normal breakdown and wear and tear on its physical form, not from outside factors, including predators, genetic defects, and the like.

There are a few factors that have an effect on the lifespan of a bird. They include:

  1. Genetics
  2. Diet
  3. Habitat
  4. Environmental Conditions

Here are a couple of examples to consider:

  • Disease can be devastating to certain bird populations that are more vulnerable, which will shorten their longevity and lifespan
  • Pollutants in the air, including environmental toxins, can destroy the health of certain birds while shortening their lives significantly

Nevertheless, there are a wide array of factors that have a positive or negative effect on the overall length of a bird’s life. Scientists are working diligently to understand the lifespan of birds and learn why they can live to ripe old ages.

By taking the time to study different bird species, researchers hope to learn more about the aging process from a general standpoint. Plus, this research makes it possible to help birds live healthier, happier, and longer lives.

By continuing our research and conservation efforts, we’ll make it possible for birds to thrive for many years and generations to come.

Bird Longevity: 5 Age-Defining Factors

ocean bird
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Image by Beto from Pixabay

Clearly, there are positive and negative factors that affect the health and longevity of birds from around the world. By discovering the truth about these factors and really learning about them, birdwatchers, enthusiasts, and researchers can find out how to better care for these beautiful avian miracles.

By studying them, we’ll learn more about longevity while helping to preserve and protect this vulnerable population. The factors include:


The health and well-being of bird longevity are affected by genetics. Some bird species live longer lives than others, and genetics play a major role. All birds have different lifespans depending on various factors, including size, diet, environment, stress levels, and more.

Certain birds are prone to genetic diseases and conditions that cost them time on this earth. Pacheco’s Disease, leukosis, and Marek’s disease are a few good examples.


The next factor to affect bird longevity is diet. Birds like to eat a wide variety of foods containing nutrients that keep them healthy and strong. Unfortunately, too many birds are forced to eat unbalanced diets due to a lack of healthy options.

Here’s an example:

If a bird eats lots of fatty foods, then it’s more liable to become obese. With obesity comes other health problems that lead to a much shorter and more unhealthy life.

Environmental Factors

The environment definitely plays a role in bird longevity and whether or not it will live a long and healthy life. Some birds live in urban areas like big cities that have way too much pollution and environmental toxins poisoning the air. These environmental factors will definitely have an effect on how long these birds live.

On the flip side, other birds live in areas free of environmental pollution and enjoy the positive health effects created by clean water, clean air, plenty of shelter, and delicious and healthy food that improve their overall health and lifespan.

Which Birds Migrate The Farthest Each Year?

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Do birds actually experience stress? Yes, of course, they do! And their stress levels will certainly have an impact on bird longevity.

Believe it or not, birds constantly find themselves exposed to stress. Things like noise pollution and predators definitely rattle their cages and put them on high alert to preserve their survival. Other disturbances will also have a negative impact on longevity which could lead to a shorter life.

Unfortunately, too much stress lowers the overall immune system of birds (and humans too). A compromised immune system makes us much more susceptible to health problems and devastating diseases that cause our physical forms to deteriorate, sometimes rapidly.


This factor really doesn’t apply to birds in their natural habitat, but it certainly applies to birds in captivity. Pet birds who receive regular veterinary care, including vaccinations and checkups, will likely outlive their counterparts living in the wild.

Nevertheless, if a bird is sick or injured and gets prompt veterinary care, its likelihood of recovering and living for many more years increases dramatically.

BirdAvg. LifespanFactors Contributing to Their Longevity
Albatross50+ yearsClean air, fresh food, healthy environment
Parrot40-80 yearsLarge brains, adapt to their environment
Ostrich40-45 yearsFew natural threats, surviving first year, ample food, no diseases
Eagle20-30 yearsExcellent vision, few natural predators, conservation efforts
Hummingbird3-5 yearsSmall size, fast metabolism, high-risk activities maintaining their territory
Warbler2-3 yearsSmall size, high metabolism

The Longest Living Bird in the World

albatross eating a crab
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Today, the albatross is the longest living bird in the world. Even more specifically, a Laysan Albatross named Wisdom is currently the longest-living bird in existence at 71 years of age.

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service,

Wisdom, the world’s oldest known wild bird, recently returned to Midway Atoll! The beloved Laysan Albatross, or mōlī, is at least 71 years old now. Biologists first identified and banded Wisdom in 1956 after she laid an egg, and the large seabirds aren’t known to breed before age 5.

Besides their incredible longevity, the albatross is also an incredibly large bird with an impressive wingspan that measures up to 11 feet from wingtip to wingtip.

They possess unique physical characteristics that make them a beautiful sight to behold while traveling above the oceans of the world. Out of all living birds today, the albatross has the longest wingspan, which makes it an incredible bird that many people love to admire and study.

Physical Characteristics

This impressively large seabird is a member of the Diomedeidae family. From a physical standpoint, their wingspan is very impressive. It ranges from anywhere between 6-11 feet, depending on the particular albatross species.

Out of all living birds in existence today, the wings of the albatross is the one with the largest wingspan. In fact, their wingspan is so large that it can measure as many as 12 feet from wingtip to wingtip, which is truly a sight to behold!

The albatross has pointed and narrow wings, which makes it easy to fly great distances over oceans with very little difficulty. In fact, their wings were designed so perfectly that they expend very little energy while flying, because they open their wings and soar instead of flapping. This allows albatrosses to fly for many hours and miles without actually flapping their wings or expending energy.

My personal favorite unique characteristic of the albatross is that it can drink seawater or salt water, unlike most birds, human beings, and other animals. They can drink salty seawater due to glands above their eyes named the suborbital glands.

According to Travis Audubon,

All seabirds and many shorebirds have a pair of suborbital (above the eye) glands which perform one of the kidneys main functions: drawing salt ions out of the bloodstream. This salt gland allows these birds to drink the water they live in.

The birds with these incredible salt-processing glands include:

  • Puffins
  • Grebes
  • Pelicans
  • Geese
  • Petrels
  • Knots
  • Gulls
  • Albatrosses
  • Loons
  • Penguins
  • Terns
  • Sea ducks

This gland is awesome because albatrosses do not need fresh water in order to survive. They also possess a keen sense of smell, which makes it really easy for them to find food across the vast ocean expanses.

Albatrosses have a wide variety of different colors, including grey, black, and white feathers. Their webbed feet are perfectly adapted for walking on land and swimming, which is certainly very convenient for these water birds.

Although large in stature in size, albatrosses are perfectly graceful birds while flying and can fly many days in a row without ever needing to stop.

Habitat & Behavior

Although best known for their gigantic wingspan, which can stretch 11-12 feet in length with certain species, these incredibly large flying birds possess other unique adaptations. Being able to soar for many hours without flapping its wings is one of them, and its proper name is called dynamic soaring.

Albatrosses love to roam along the North Pacific Ocean and Southern Oceans because it’s their typical stomping ground. Their breeding grounds are found on various islands in the area, but they fly for many days and spend the bulk of their life along the sea.

As pelagic birds, they love to spend the bulk of their time flying across the open ocean while feeding on marine life, squid, and fish. They can excrete salt through their nasal glands, which allows them to survive and thrive while living in an oceanic habitat.

As monogamous birds, they find a partner and meet with them for life. Some albatross species will only breed every other year, while other species breed each year.

They implement elaborate courtship rituals, which are interesting to watch and are filled with a series of calls and displays. The female albatross will lay a single egg within her nest made of materials like grass and soil. Both parents spend two months incubating the egg. After it hatches, the little albatross chick is fed with food regurgitated by both parents until it has reached fledgling age, which is usually about a year for most albatrosses.

This bird plays a large role in the marine ecosystem. It’s considered a top predator and regulates squid and fish populations. Nevertheless, the albatross is certainly vulnerable to the activities of humans, including pollution and overfishing, which definitely have a negative impact on their overall population numbers.

Unfortunately, there are currently several albatross species that are listed as endangered and critically endangered. 

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the albatross species that are experiencing the gravest peril and extinction include the following:

  1. Tristan albatross (Diomedea dabbenena) – Critically Endangered
  2. Amsterdam albatross (Diomedea amsterdamensis) – Critically Endangered
  3. Chatham albatross (Thalassarche eremita) – Endangered
  4. Antipodean albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) – Endangered
  5. Waved albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) – Critically Endangered
  6. Northern royal albatross (Diomedea sanfordi) – Endangered
  7. Southern royal albatross (Diomedea epomophora) – Vulnerable
  8. Gibson’s albatross (Diomedea gibsoni) – Endangered

Their survival is critical, so we must step up our conservation efforts to ensure their health and longevity.

Role in the Ecosystem

The albatross plays a major part in the ecosystem, but in particular, they have a vital role throughout the open ocean. As an apex predator, it’s their job to regulate the population of certain prey, including fish and squid. They are also scavengers that help keep the ocean free and clean of decaying matter by scavenging on the carrion and other food items.

The presence of albatrosses also indicates marine ecosystem health. The albatross population becomes affected by changes that happen within the ocean environment, such as currents and water temperature shifts.

In the end, scientists pay close attention to the population of albatrosses as a way to monitor the health of oceans and identify potential marine species threats.

They also play a unique part in the cycling of nutrients. Their prey includes animals that have rich nutrients, including squid and krill. They then secrete these nutrients by defecating. Their feces, believe it or not, is used to fertilize the ocean. It helps support phytoplankton growth, which acts as the base of the food chain of marine food.

The worst thing of all is that albatross populations are beginning to decline, and in some cases, they are declining dramatically. This is happening due to the activities of human beings like pollution, overfishing, and the destruction of their habitat.

Efforts to conserve the albatross population are certainly underway. Humanity must do everything in its power to ensure its continued health and longevity by preserving the habitats and food sources of these magnificent birds.

Wisdom The Albatross: The Oldest Living Bird in Existence Today

Wisdom the Albatross was originally banded in 1956 as an adult, so it’s estimated that she is currently 71 years old or older. At this time, she is the oldest living bird, although she isn’t the oldest living bird in recorded history.

Wisdom is a Laysan Albatross. This particular species of albatross has natural adaptations that allow it to lead a long and healthy life for many years. In fact, this type of bird has adapted to many of the challenges that it faces in its day-to-day life, which have caused it to evolve a number of behavioral and physical adaptations that let it survive for a long time.

Here’s a quick example:

The albatross has an incredibly large wingspan of 11-12 feet wide from tip to tip. This allows the albatross to fly for many long distances without expending any energy because it simply glides for miles upon miles without flapping its wings. Energy conservation alone allows this bird to survive for a long time without the need for food, even when it’s potentially scarce.

Additionally, the albatross has a very long breeding cycle. Certain albatross species only breed once every two years. Since they have a slow reproductive rate, nature has potentially granted them a very long lifespan. At least, that’s what scientists and other experts believe.

Their slow reproductive rate grants them the ability to take better care of their individual offspring, which allows them to survive and thrive between the next attempt at breeding.

It’s difficult to say exactly why Wisdom the Albatross has lived for so many years. Her longevity is undoubtedly remarkable, to say the least. It’s likely the combination of natural adaptations, genetic factors, her personal behavior, and personal experiences that have allowed her to live for such a long time.

Other Long-Lived Birds in the World

As we’ve established, certain birds – usually large birds – have the ability to live very long lives. In fact, some of them even surpass the length of time human beings can spend on this earth.

The longest-living birds in the wild include the following avian creatures:

  1. Laysan Albatross
  2. Black-Footed Albatross
  3. Great Frigatebird
  4. White Tern
  5. Sooty Tern
  6. Wandering Albatross
  7. Arctic Tern
  8. Red-Tailed Tropicbird
  9. Black-Browed Albatross
  10. Atlantic Puffin

Discover the truth about these long-lived birds, along with physical characteristics, habitat, behavior, and other interesting and important facts.

Laysan Albatross – Large Seabird Native to the North Pacific Ocean

  • Physical Characteristics: It has a wingspan of 6.5-11 feet and white plumage with black feathers on the back and wings. Juveniles have white and brown feathers. Their beak is yellow, and long, and has a hook on the end, which makes it easy to catch oceanic prey. The eyes are dark, and large, and they possess a subcutaneous gland that allows them to read their body of excess salt. The typical Laysan albatross weighs 8.2 pounds
  • Behavior: This breed of albatrosses is monogamous, so it finds a partner in mates with it for life. It has an elaborate courtship ritual, the female lays a single egg once per year, and it takes two months for the parents to incubate the egg, which they do together. Primarily, this bird feasts on marine life including fish and squid. It dives down into the ocean to catch its prey. This bird can fly for up to 3000 miles in one trip during its foraging escapades.
  • Habitat: It’s located in the North Pacific, including the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Midway Atoll, and other parts of Hawaii. The majority of their days are spent foraging across the open ocean. During their nesting period, they like to spend time on grassy or sandy areas right near the coast. They tend to stick with the same nesting site, which they will return to year after year.

Interesting Facts about Laysan Albatrosses

  • Wisdom the albatross is currently the longest living bird at 71 years old. Typically, Laysan albatrosses can live up to 60 years or longer
  • Their population is currently being threatened due to plastics polluting the oceans. The ocean is littered with plastic debris that they accidentally eat and ingest. This can sometimes lead to injury or even death
  • Indigenous Hawaiian communities appreciate the cultural importance of the Laysan albatross. It is culturally significant to the Hawaiian people and indigenous communities because it’s considered a symbol of good luck, and protection, and it’s even looked upon as a messenger of the gods

Black-Footed Albatross – Highly-Skilled Fliers of the Tropical Pacific Islands

  • Physical Characteristics: The black-footed albatross possesses a wingspan that reaches 6-7 feet. This bird weighs 4-5 pounds, has dark black or brown feathers on its tail, back, and wings, and its head and underside have white feathers. Around their eyes, they have distinctive dark patches, yellowish-orange beaks, and black feet
  • Behavior: These birds are fantastic fliers, which gives them the ability to glide for many miles upon miles without expending energy or flapping its wings. During courtship, these albatrosses will face one another and clack their bills together as part of their courtship ritual. Like most albatrosses, these birds become mates for life. The female lays one egg every other year.
  • Habitat: Found throughout the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, these birds usually spend the bulk of their lives in California and Hawaii. For the most part, the black-footed albatross loves to fly over open oceans, but they will visit coastal cliffs and islands during breeding season. 

Interesting Facts about Black-Footed Albatrosses

  • Human activities, including commercial fishing, habitat destruction, and plastic pollution, currently threaten the health and longevity of the black-footed albatross
  • One of only 3 species of albatross that live in North America
  • It has a special subcutaneous gland that allows it to drink and excrete seawater
  • While searching for food, the black footed albatross will follow ships and steal the bait from their fishing lines

Great Frigatebird – Large Seabird Found within the World’s Tropical Oceans

  • Physical Characteristics: The great frigatebird has a narrow and long wingspan, a streamlined body, and its wingspan is 7.5 feet long. It has mostly black feathers, although it has a red pouch of feathers at its throat. It also has sharp talons, a hooked beak, and the males have larger throat pouches and are bigger than females overall.
  • Behavior: As skilled fliers, these birds spend the bulk of their time soaring through the air across wind currents and thermals. Their diet of choice consists of squid and fish, although they will certainly snatch prey from the beaks of birds’ mid-flight. Males inflate their red throat pouch to attract females. They are also colony nesters, so they build colonies in groups and build nests using vegetation and twigs.
  • Habitat: These birds stick to areas with subtropical and tropical waters and they live all around the world including near the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean. While nesting, they typically stick to cliffs or trees along the coastline on atolls or remote islands.

Interesting Facts about Great Frigatebirds

  • A nickname for great frigatebirds is “man-o’-war birds” because they share a symbiotic relationship with the man-o’-war jellyfish from Portugal, although many consider this a myth in modern times although they believed it in the past
  • These birds exhibit kleptoparasitic behavior, which simply means they will steal food from other birds while flying
  • They have specialized glands that allow them to drink and excrete the salt in seawater
  • They can fly for weeks without landing and are considered the largest seabirds in the world

White Tern – A Small and Graceful Seabird

  • Physical Characteristics: The White Tern typically only ways 1-2 ounces and its wingspan is 2-2.4 inches wide. This bird has a forked tail and very distinctive white plumage, its body is slender, its beak is curved and the color black, and around its eyes there is a striking black patch that gives this bird an interesting yet distinctive appearance.
  • Behavior: The White Tern is a graceful flier to say the least, as it glides and swoops across the ocean searching for squid and other small fish. Their nesting behavior is unusual because they do not build nests. Instead, the White Tern lays its eggs upon the top of tree branches and holds them in place using their web feet. These social birds tend to gather together in large flocks and use whistles, squawks, and other vocalizations to communicate with one another.
  • Habitat: Their habitat tends to remain in subtropical and tropical regions throughout the Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Caribbean. During breeding, they will roost in trees on atolls and remote islands.

Interesting Facts about White Terns

  • White Terns are often called “Angel Terns” because their flight and appearance is very graceful in nature.
  • Their unusual nesting habits and behavior have given them the nickname “egg birds.”
  • They care for the chicks in a unique way. They do not regurgitate their food into the check smells like other birds. Instead, they secrete “pigeon milk” and use it to feed their young.
  • Certain Western cultures consider White Terns as symbols of tranquility and peace

Sooty Tern – A Seabird Species That Loves the Tropical Oceans of the World

  • Physical Characteristics: This bird possesses distinctive white and black plumage, where their tail, wings, and back have black feathers, while their belly and head have white feathers. Their dark red bill is pointed in sharp, they have a 32 inch wingspan, their wings are pointed in long, which gives them the ability to fly without rest for long periods, and they have short red legs and webbed feet that are perfectly suited for diving and swimming.
  • Behavior: They are considered highly pelagic, meaning they spend the bulk of their time flying over the sea. The only exception is during breeding season, when they nest on land. They are social in nature, gather in large flocks, and do so during non-breeding season. They are agile flyers and can fly for great distances without taking a rest. Lastly, they are monogamous and form lasting bonds with their partner.
  • Habitat: These birds are found all over the world in subtropical regions around the Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Atlantic Ocean. They prefer nesting on rocky cliffs and sandy beaches on atolls and remote islands.

Interesting Facts about Sooty Terns

  • The Sooty Terns are nicknamed “wideawakes“ because at night, their call is piercing and loud and quite alarming when you hear it
  • They are long distance migrators that travel roughly 14,000 miles each year
  • These birds are necessary indicators of the health of oceans, since they primarily feed on marine organisms and fish
  • From a cultural standpoint, certain island communities consider these birds sacred due to their spiritual significance

Wandering Albatross – A Large Seabird with an 11-Foot Wingspan

  • Physical Characteristics: The wingspan of the wandering albatross is 11 feet or 3.5 m long. Its body is white, it has a pinkish bill, and the tips of its wings are black. Females are smaller than their male counterparts and the males have larger bills. They excrete excess salt through their salt water gland, which grants them the ability to drink seawater.
  • Behavior: this bird has incredible flying abilities and it glides for many hours without the need to flap its wings. Their diet mainly consists of fish and squid and they scavenge for food by following fishing boats. These monogamous birds’ mate for life and mom and dad both incubate their eggs together.
  • Habitat: The wandering albatross spends the bulk of its time over the open oceans and seas of the world, and it only spends time on land while breeding. It breeds on the remote islands including the Crozet Islands, Macquarie Islands, and South Georgia Islands. In a single year, these birds travel long distances by up to 75,000 miles.

Interesting Facts about Wandering Albatrosses

  • Out of all birds in existence today, the wandering albatross has the longest wingspan, it flies long distances, and glides to conserve its energy.
  • It’s also an incredibly long-lived bird and can live up to 60 years of age or older.
  • Due to long-distance travel and remote breeding sites, these birds are vulnerable to various threats including plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

Arctic Tern – A Seabird with the Longest Annual Migration

  • Physical Characteristics: The Arctic Tern is considered a medium-sized seabird. Its wingspan is 28-33 inches long and weighs roughly 3.5 ounces. It has grey wings, a forked tail, and a white body. It has a black and red bill, and its feet and legs are black. Its plumage changes color depending on the season. It’s much darker during the breeding season in the warmer months and their head has a black cap on it. During the winter, their plumage becomes paler and it doesn’t have a black cap on top of its head.
  • Behavior: The Arctic Tern is the most migratory bird out of every bird species because it travels as much as 44,000 miles per year-round trip. It’s a social bird, so it tends to gather in big flocks while migrating to their breeding sites. It feeds on insects, crustaceans, and small fish that it catches by diving into the water.
  • Habitat: While breeding, these birds can be found in the Arctic and sub- Arctic parts of Europe, North America, and Asia. They prefer beaches, offshore islands, and rocky shores along the coast. Throughout the non-breeding season, these birds tend to migrate to the Southern Ocean, where they spend the bulk of their time flying over open waters.

Interesting Facts about Arctic Terns

  • The Arctic Tern is the world record holder for the longest migration of all bird species. Each year, it travels from the Antarctic to the Arctic and back again, for a round-trip of 44,000 miles.
  • This bird is very aggressive toward predators that come near their nests including crows and gulls.
  • The Arctic Tern’s average lifespan lasts for 30 years. Although, some of these birds have lived as long as 34 years.

Red-Tailed Tropicbird – A Large Subtropical Seabird

  • Physical Characteristics: This bird is slender, has long wings, and a deeply forked long tail. Its body is white, its wingtips are black, and around its eyes it has a black mask. It’s streaming long red tail feathers and bright red bill are its most outstanding features. It’s roughly 16-20 inches long and weighs the tween 7-10 ounces.
  • Behavior: The narrow wings of the Red-tailed Tropicbird make this bird an excellent flier as it soars and glides for long stretches without the need to flap its wings. It eats squid and fish, which it catches by diving into the water. Males have elaborate courtship displays that they perform during breeding season. They fly in big circles around their female companion while waving long tail feathers and calling to them. The female will lay a single egg within a nest made of feathers and sticks, typically built on a rocky outcrop or cliff. The ag is incubated by both parents, who also care for their chick together.
  • Habitat: This bird lives in subtropical or tropical waters and is typically found in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. While breeding, it sticks to see stacks, rocky cliffs, and islands. Otherwise, it likes to spend its time foraging in flying over great expanses of the ocean.

Interesting Facts about Red-Tailed Tropicbird

  • This bird is also nicknamed the “boatswain bird” because its call is piercing and sounds a lot like a boatswain’s whistle.
  • Females look at the red tail feathers of their male counterparts to determine whether or not a potential mate is attractive and physically fit.
  • On a single foraging trip, the Red-tailed Tropicbird will travel more than 2500 miles.
  • Even though it has a large population and wide distribution, it’s still considered an at-risk bird due to climate change, predation, and habitat loss.

Black-Browed Albatross – A Large Seabird with Remarkable Navigational Skills

  • Physical Characteristics: The black-browed albatross is considered an extremely large seabird with a wide wingspan that covers 6.5 feet or 2 m in length. It has a black eyebrows stripe over its eyes, which contrasts in color with its white neck and head. It’s wings and back have dark grey feathers, while its underside is white. Its beak is hooked and sharp, which makes it easy to catch prey and it has web feet perfectly suited for diving and swimming.
  • Behavior: This bird is highly adaptable to see life and flies for many days straight without stopping. It’s considered an opportunistic feeder and eats a wide variety of prey including crustaceans, squid, and lots of fish. Throughout the breeding season, it forms a pair with a member of the opposite sex and it builds a nest of materials including moss and grass. It builds its nest on rocky outcrops and cliffs. Females lay one egg during breeding season, which both parents incubate.
  • Habitat: The black-browed albatross makes its home in the southern oceans, more specifically along the subantarctic islands along the southern coast of Australia, Africa, and South America. Typically, this bird prefers breeding on rocky outcrops and steep cliffs on coastal islands. The bulk of its life is lived at sea, where it flies for long distances and only stops on land in order to breed.

Interesting Facts about Black-Browed Albatrosses

  • The black-browed albatross is well known for having remarkable navigational abilities. It can find its way back to nesting sites located on remote islands, even after spending many months at sea. 
  • This bird typically lives for up to 40 years, which means it has a long individual life span.
  • The estimated population of the black-browed albatross is 1.2 million birds, which means it has a widespread population.
  • Even though its population consists of more than 1 million birds, it’s still considered near-threatened because of pollution and overfishing.

Atlantic Puffin – A Colorful & Unique Seabird Living in the Northern Atlantic Ocean

  • Physical Characteristics: The Atlantic Puffin has a very distinctive appearance. Its plumage is white and black, it has bright orange feet, and its beak is large and colorful that gets even brighter colored during breeding season. It’s roughly 10 inches long and weighs between 10-18 ounces and has an 18.5 inches wingspan. The puffin’s body has adapted to water life, so it has web feet and is an excellent swimmer.
  • Behavior: The Atlantic Puffin is quite social in nature and during breeding season it will form large colonies. It’s a great swimmer, as previously mentioned, and its wings give it the ability to fly through the water while searching for prey including small fish. Puffins take only one mate for life, so they are monogamous birds that nest in the same colony year after year. Each year, the puffin will lay a single egg and both parents take turns caring for hatchlings and incubating the egg.
  • Habitat: Atlantic Puffins live in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean in regions including the United Kingdom, Norway, Greenland, Iceland, and Canada. They prefer breeding along rocky coasts, see cliffs, and offshore islands. Most of their time is spent flying out at sea during the non-breeding season.

Interesting Facts about Atlantic Puffins

  • The Atlantic Puffin has very bright and beautiful colors, so they have been nicknamed the “cloud of the sea” and “sea parrot.”
  • This bird can carry several different small fish within its beak at one time, which gives it the ability to easily feed its family and small chick. 
  • Puffins are well known for the unique way that they fly. They will rapidly flap their wings so quickly that they can hit speeds of 55 mph, which is incredible!
  • The Atlantic Puffin lives a very long life, which on average is usually around 20 years, although it can live up to 30 years or more.
  • Canada, Iceland, and other countries have featured these birds on coins and stamps.
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