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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 14, 2021

Did You Know? 15 Incredible White-capped Albatross Facts

White-capped albatross fun facts illustrate their breeding habits, distribution, and description.

The white-capped albatross (Thalassarche cauta steadi) is a medium-sized seabird in the albatross family. The white-capped albatross breeds on islands in the southern Indian Ocean, and in places in the Pacific Ocean, such as Campbell Island and New Zealand's Auckland Islands. These albatrosses spend their time around oceanic habitats like continental shelves, along coastlines, and over the open ocean. This bird is one of the members of the genus, Thalassarche, and it is characterized by its dark wingtips and breast, as well as its whitish cap and collar.

This type of albatross (Thalassarche cauta steadi) is a type of seabird. Like most other members of the albatross family, it spends most of its time on the open sea, with its range covering much of the southern oceans. This bird nests only every two to three years, which is unusual for an albatross. It lays one egg at a time and incubates it for up to six months. They have a fascinating lifestyle that includes long-distance travel, deep diving, and nest guarding. Albatrosses have some fascinating features that make them unique among birds.

Here are some facts about this wonderful bird, from their breeding, bill, relation with the shy albatross, and their distribution for you to enjoy.

If you like this article, check out Amsterdam albatross facts and Chatham albatross facts.

White-capped Albatross Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a white-capped albatross?

It is a seabird that belongs to the family Diomedeidae.

What class of animal does a white-capped albatross belong to?

These birds belong to the class of Aves in the Animalia kingdom.

How many white-capped albatross are there in the world?

Their population has been declining over the years, with around 75,000 breeding pairs left. However, their exact population has not been quantified recently.

Where does a white-capped albatross live?

It is a small, wide-ranging seabird that breeds on the Auckland Islands like Disappointment Island off the coast of New Zealand. It is a migratory seabird that has a circumpolar distribution in the Southern Hemisphere. They are also found in North America. These species are endemic to the New Zealand islands off the coast. Mainly these species are found across four main islands of New Zealand, namely, Disappointment Island, Bollons Island (Antipodes Islands), Auckland Island, and Adams Island.

What is a white-capped albatross's habitat?

These birds are mainly an inhabitant of islands and oceanic regions as they are seabirds. Their habitat includes seas, oceans, and coastal areas.

Who do white-capped albatrosses live with?

They are usually seen flying in breeding pairs during the breeding season.

How long does a white-capped albatross live?

The average lifespan of this species is unknown, but it's likely to be around 20-40 years if we take into account other species like the southern royal albatross and the wandering albatross.

How do they reproduce?

This albatross's breeding range includes colonially dense aggregations of pairs or trios, generally on remote islands. Colonies are generally found in areas where the ground is less than 3 ft (1 m) above sea level. They are monogamous and share incubation duties equally for 56 days during the breeding season. Throughout their lifespan, these birds are known to have up to three different mates and will make nests out of any material available, such as grasses and leaves. Their breeding process takes a relatively long time. It's no wonder why these birds stand out amongst others.

What is their conservation status?

 According to International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN Red List, these albatrosses' populations are categorized under Near Threatened species due to their small number of individuals. Long lines, fisheries, and predators like feral cats, are believed to be the largest threat to their population.

White-capped Albatross Fun Facts

What do white-capped albatrosses look like?

White-capped albatross facts are all about their breeding, diet, range, and habitat.

These birds have black feet that are webbed for swimming. They are medium-sized seabirds with predominantly white plumage on their heads and backs. The adult tip of the bill is pale gray-blue with a yellow tip, and their eyes are dark brown. This species is named for its white forehead and cap, which can be seen on the adults. Their feathers are mostly black, with some whitish coloration at the wingtips. Young ones have a grayish beak that has a dark tip. Their most distinguishing feature is their whitish head-crest, which they use to identify themselves to other members of their species.

How cute are they?

These birds are believed to be very cute and attractive because of their size and physical traits.

How do they communicate?

The call of this bird is not very loud, but they use some distinctive calls to communicate. They mainly use tactile, visual, and acoustic modes of communication.

How big is a white-capped albatross?

These birds are 35.4–39 in (90-99 cm) in size, and they have a wingspan of about 87–101 in (221-256.5 cm). They are almost three times bigger than the Kentucky warbler and just slightly bigger than the Laysan albatross.

How fast can a white-capped albatross fly?

Albatrosses can fly at a speed of around 50 mph (80.4 kph).

How much does a white-capped albatross weigh?

They weigh around 7.5–9.7 lb (3.4-4.4 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no sex-specific names for white-capped albatrosses.

What would you call a baby white-capped albatross?

A baby white-capped albatross is called a chick.

What do they eat?

This species feeds primarily on squid, which they catch by plunging into the ocean from great heights. It also feeds on cephalopods that dive below the surface, as well as crustaceans caught near the ocean bottom. This bird eats squid, octopus, fish, and crustaceans.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not at all dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they are fit for a life of the ocean, and there is only a small number of them left in the wild so they should not be kept as pets.

Did you know...

Previously, these Auckland Island birds were a part of a larger species that consisted of the shy albatross, Salvin's albatross, white-capped, and the Chatham albatross. Later on, they were split into four different species. This is the major reason why people used to call these albatrosses the shy albatross bird, a native breeder in Australia. However, even now, some people and even some naturalists refer to them as shy albatrosses due to their collective species that used to exist.

These birds have their upper bill attached to their nasal passage, which is called naricorns. Moreover, their nostrils are located at the sides of their bill.

Black-browed albatross vs. white-capped albatross

Both of these bird's population belongs to same families within the same genus. They are a member of a group of birds which includes the wandering albatross and the black-browed albatross. This bird species (Thalassarche cauta steadi) is one of the members of the genus Thalassarche and is characterized by its dark head and breast, as well as its whitish cap and collar.

Why is it called white-capped albatross?

As its name suggests, they are known with that name because of their white crown and cap.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these great albatross facts and black-browed albatross facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable white-capped albatross coloring pages.

Main image by Gregory Smith.

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