How Far Does an Albatross Fly to Feed Its Chick?

The large albatross seabird has been known to fly to feed its chick at distances of over 10,000 miles (16,000 km) to deliver one meal. Their main sources of food include squid and fish eggs, which they eat and digest before feeding their chicks the regurgitated solid food and stomach oils. For the first few weeks of an albatross chick’s life, its parents will travel and bring back food each day. As the chicks age, its parents typically return every two to three days with food.

More about albatrosses and their feeding habits:

  • Albatrosses generally mate and raise their chicks for life, with the male and female sharing equal responsibility for incubating the egg and feeding the chick once it has hatched.
  • Unlike most birds, the albatross has a strong sense of smell and can hunt for prey based on areas of the sea that smell most fragrantly of fish.
  • The adult albatross’ high fat diet is very efficient for albatross chicks--for every gram of fat they digest from their parents’ regurgitation the chick receives an equal amount of water.

Discussion Comments


@Viranty - Well, one thing you need to remember is that just because a bird is searching for food, doesn't mean that it's going to be close by. In fact, for all that we know, in some cases, food might not be available for miles, especially at the nearest lake. Adding onto that, what if the babies are born during the winter time? Obviously, that could be a huge problem. Not only are all the lakes frozen over, but even more so, there's little to no food during that season, unless someone stores it. Taking both of these factors into consideration, it's not hard to see why they travel such long distances for food. Besides, a mother will do anything for their children.


Wow, I didn't know that an albatross could travel such long distances. Not only is that amazing, but it also makes me wonder how they can even find their way back, since they're so far from home. Unless the weather is bad, perhaps they track their path, to ensure their own safety. On another note, it makes me wonder why they travel so far to get food. Does anyone else find this behavior a bit too extreme?


It's interesting to read the seagulls have a strong sense of smell, let alone a sense of smell at all. From my experience, many birds aren't able to sense things with a scent. In fact, this is one of the reasons some species can eat spicy seeds without a reaction. After all, when humans and animals taste, the smell of it will affect the senses as well. On another note, this is one reason why the great horned owl, another bird with no sense of smell, is able to eat skunks without any trouble.

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