The wandering albatross spends most of its life flying over the windy southern oceans. Sometimes it travels 600 miles in one day! It can even fly at night while its brain is half-asleep.
The albatross can fly so far because it is the largest seabird with the longest wingspan in the world. Its long, narrow wings, more than 10 feet across, help it to glide on the wind currents. Gliding doesn't take as much work as flapping your wings. The only time the albatross isn't flying is when it's eating or when it's raising a chick. An albatross will often follow fishing boats, landing on the ocean to eat the scraps thrown overboard. It also dives for squid and fish, which are its favorite foods.
Albatrosses mate for life. A mated pair will return to the same deserted island near Antarctica every two years to lay one egg. Mom and Dad take turns keeping the egg warm. While one parent sits on the nest, the other spends weeks at sea feeding. After the chick hatches, the parents again take turns guarding the nest and searching for food for themselves and the chick. The chick stays in the nest for about nine months. Then it's time to start its own journey, forever flying on the ocean winds.
- Describe the life cycle of an albatross.