Albatross chick prepares for their first flight

Image: DOC

Introduction

Albatross are the world's largest seabirds. They spend at least 85% of their lives at sea returning to land (usually remote islands) to breed and raise their young.

Highlights

Naturally low productivity, combined with changes in climate and habitat conditions and certain fishing practices, make these seabirds highly vulnerable.

Until recently scientists recognised 14 different species of albatrosses, but new research using DNA technology has confirmed as many as 24.

Fourteen varieties breed in the New Zealand region – more than anywhere else in the world. Several are extremely rare, like the Antipodean albatross which breed in the sub Antarctic Island of Antipodes.

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