Fun Laysan Albatross Facts For Kids

Danielle Outen
Nov 04, 2022 By Danielle Outen
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Ambuj Tripathi
Check out these Laysan albatross facts.

The Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) of the order Procellariiformes, family Diomedeidae, and genus Phoebastria is a majestic and giant bird found in the Pacific Ocean around North America and in the northwestern Hawaiian islands. In particular, they are named after the Laysan island where they have a breeding colony. Here, they are the second most commonly found seabird.

Laysan albatrosses are from the order Procellariiformes, family Diomedeidae, and genus Phoebastria and they breed on islands. Similar species include other albatrosses, petrels, and shearwaters.

These brilliant birds are amazing because they are said to be able to fly endlessly without landing. However, over recent years they have started to become more endangered, mostly because of fishing.

They currently have the conservation status Near Threatened and there are lots of ongoing efforts toward their conservation. You can learn more about them to help spread awareness.

To understand more about the Laysan albatross keep on reading these facts. If you want to become a true albatross and wildlife expert, why not read about the wandering albatross and the Muscovy duck too?

Laysan Albatross Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Laysan albatross?

The Laysan albatross (phoebastra immutabilis) is a type of seabird that is part of the Aves classification.

What class of animal does a Laysan albatross belong to?

A Laysan albatross is a bird and falls under the Aves classification.

How many Laysan albatrosses are there in the world?

There are roughly 2.5 million Laysan albatrosses in the world.

Where does a Laysan albatross live?

These birds spend most of their lives by the ocean, in particular the Pacific Ocean. They nest on sandy or grassy islands close to the sea.

What is a Laysan albatross' habitat?

The habitat of these birds is on or by open water. During the breeding season, they prefer to stay on a sandy island habitat to nest. They can be found on Laysan Island, the Midway Atoll, and other Hawaiian islands.

When it is not their breeding season, they stay in the open ocean far away from land. These birds stay in the cold Pacific Ocean and are limited to the northern hemisphere. Other types of albatross birds live in the southern hemisphere.

Who do Laysan albatrosses live with?

Laysan albatrosses find a mate who they are loyal to for life. They are often seen breeding in colonies among other species of albatross birds. The breeding pairs live with their hatched chicks until they are old enough to leave the nest.

How long does a Laysan albatross live?

The typical Laysan albatross lifespan is up to 40 years old, they are known to be a long-living bird.

How do they reproduce?

Laysan albatrosses start to breed from about eight years old, and they can breed annually until they are 40 years old. They breed with their mate, who they stick with for life. These birds only go to land to breed, where they form a large breeding colony.

Mates build a nest together in the ground. The nest has a space to fit an egg comfortably.

Mating pairs produce one egg at a time, which they take care of in the nest together. Interestingly, research has discovered instances of Laysan albatross homosexuality, and that two females can be mates. A female pair will create a nest together and look after an egg that has been fertilized by a male.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these birds is Near Threatened. They are threatened for a few reasons. Firstly, because of fisheries.

These birds are attracted to bait on long lines used to catch big fish such as tuna. They often get caught on the hooks, and can get dragged under the sea, or left stuck at the surface of the sea. Research has found that 100,000 birds of the albatross species are killed like this every single year.

Secondly, they ingest a lot of plastic. These birds feed on squid, fish, and fish eggs found on the surface of the ocean but they may also consume plastic, mistaking it for food.

Laysan albatross plastic consumption can lead to illness and death.

Thirdly, some Laysan albatrosses on Midway Atoll are found to have lead poisoning after eating lead paint chips from buildings left behind by the Navy on the island. Finally, albatrosses breed on land, and many young birds, chicks, and eggs have become prey to wild cats, dogs, and rats.

Laysan Albatross Fun Facts

What do Laysan albatrosses look like?

The Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) is a giant bird with a huge wingspan. They have a distinct coloring from other albatross species in the North Pacific, such as the black-footed albatross, which is typically all black.

They have coloring similar to a seagull and have a dark gray, black, and white plumage. Their wings are dark gray, they have dark markings on their head and they also have a pink bill with a black tip.

A Laysan albatross is white with dark wings and dark markings.

How cute are they?

Laysan albatrosses are definitely cute when they are a young chick. Fully grown albatrosses are not particularly cute, but they definitely have a majestic and powerful look to them because of their size.

How do they communicate?

Laysan albatrosses make squeaking, grunting, and whining noises, especially during the breeding season. When courting for a mate, the pair click their bills in unison. When incubating their egg, they also make noises to each other.

How big is a Laysan albatross?

A fully grown adult Laysan albatross is pretty big. The typical Laysan albatross size is roughly 32 in (81 cm) in length, from head to the tip of their tail. When these birds spread their wings, their wingspan is within a range of 77-80 in (95-203 cm). This makes them bigger than most humans!

How fast can a Laysan albatross fly?

Laysan albatrosses can fly very fast and cover hundreds of miles in one day. The Laysan albatross wingspan is so large it allows them to glide through the air and wind with ease and speed.

They do something called dynamic soaring, which involves rising into the wind and descending below it to gain maximum momentum. This flight pattern enables them to fly up to 621 miles (1000 km) without beating their wings.

How much does a Laysan albatross weigh?

Males weigh a range of 5.3–9 lb (2.4-4.1 kg) but a female of the species is a little smaller than a male, weighing within a range of 4.2–7.9 lb (1.9-3.6 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

Females and males of this species are both called Laysan albatrosses.

What would you call a baby Laysan albatross?

A baby is called a Laysan albatross chick, just like other species of bird.

What do they eat?

The Laysan albatross feeds on fish eggs, squid, fish, crustaceans, floating carrion, and some discards thrown from fishing boats. Laysan albatrosses feed by sitting on the water and dunking their beaks into the surface of the sea to get their food.

Adults go foraging for up to 17 days and travel up to 1,600 miles (2,575 km) to find food for their young. When back at the breeding colony, to feed Laysan albatross chicks, they regurgitate the food found at sea that they have stored in their stomachs.

Are they dangerous?

Laysan albatrosses are not dangerous. Some research found that Laysan albatrosses are not known to be violent to other members of the breeding colony. There is not much evidence of whether they are dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Laysan albatrosses would definitely not make good pets. They are giant birds, that need to be able to soar in the sky and live near the ocean.

Did you know...

The courting between a pair of Laysan albatrosses is said to involve an elaborate courtship display consisting of a Laysan albatross mating dance and noises.

The world's oldest wild bird is a Laysan albatross called Wisdom. She was identified in 1956, is currently still alive, and is at least 70 years old!

Even though they are very big, they are among the smallest of albatrosses.

Albatrosses can drink seawater without getting dehydrated thanks to their tubenose which allows them to secrete salt.

One Laysan albatross once made its way to Midway Island all the way from The Philippines, traveling a distance of 4,120 miles (6,630 km).

You can help to protect these birds by reducing your plastic intake and ensuring proper recycling practices. You can also protect the albatross population by opting for sustainably caught seafood.

They sometimes can also be found in the sea next to Mexico and Japan.

A Laysan albatross egg is normally 4 in (10.8 cm) tall and 2.7 in (6.9 cm) wide. An egg needs to incubate for up to 66 days.

How long can a Laysan albatross fly before landing?

Laysan albatrosses fly by dynamic soaring using the wind to fly and save energy. This allows these birds to soar without even flapping their wings. No one knows exactly how long a Laysan albatross can fly without stopping, but it is said they can fly forever. They even sleep in the air!

How to tell a male Laysan albatross from a female one?

It is difficult to tell a male Laysan albatross from a female one. The biggest difference is that females are normally smaller in size than males.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds including the brant, or the macaw.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our laysan albatross coloring pages.

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Written by Danielle Outen

Bachelor's degree specializing in Economics, Master's degree specializing in Development Management

Danielle Outen picture

Danielle OutenBachelor's degree specializing in Economics, Master's degree specializing in Development Management

Growing up in London, Danielle has a Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Southampton and a Master's degree in Development Management from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). She has always been surrounded by a big family and loves outdoor activities and adventurous experiences. She has traveled the world in search of new waves to surf. Danielle enjoys discovering new and fun activities to share with her relatives.

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Fact-checked by Ambuj Tripathi

Bachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ambuj Tripathi picture

Ambuj TripathiBachelor of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ambuj is a skilled fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University. He has been recognized for his exceptional content writing skills, having won a CineMedia competition. In addition to his writing abilities, he also has a flair for design.

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