"Waved Albatross" Top 5 Page for this destination Galápagos Islands Things to Do Tip by MalenaN
Galápagos Islands Things to Do: 363 reviews and 1,041 photos
The only place the Waved Albatrosses (Diomedea irrorata) breed is at Punta Suarez on Isla Española. They are the largest seabirds present in the Galapagos Islands and they look both funny and beautiful. I was very happy to see their courtship display while visiting Punta Suárez. It was an amazing thing to see.
During the breeding season in April - November around 18 200 pairs can be found on Isla Española. When the waved Albatross is not breeding it can be found over the Pacific Ocean east of Galapagos Islands and along the Ecuadorian and the north Peruvian coast. They can stay very long at sea, without putting their feet on firm ground. In the air they are very good fliers and can glide for long periods without flapping their wings. They feed far out at sea from the surface and usually eat fish, squid and crustaceans.
The Waved Albatross is a large seabird with a length of 85 - 93cm and a wingspan of almost 2.5m. They have a grey-brown plumage with white head and neck. The back of the neck is a bit yellowish. The webbed feet are large and the yellow bill is also big. Males and females look alike, but the male is slightly larger.
The males arrive first to Punta Suárez, in March/April, but the females soon follow. Most Waved Albatrosses are monogamous, some have several partners. The egg is laid on the ground and both parents help with the incubation. Strangely the parents sometimes roll the egg about. It is believed this is done for a more successful hatching.
During the breeding season, in April - November, you can see the albatrosses perform their courtship ritual. It is a fun thing to see. It looks like the couple is fencing with their bills when they snap and rattle. They move their necks from side to side, up and down, and they raise the bill towards the sky and make some guttural noises. You can see my video of the courtship display here.
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