The Monthly Species: January

Hello! Welcome to this brand new series! Its the Monthly Species. That’s right every month I’ll be giving you a profile for a new species! Alternating predominantly between the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom! This month it’s….

Southern Royal Albatross

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Scientific Classification:

Scientific Name : Diomedea epomophora

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Procellariiformes

Family: Diomedeidae

Genus: Diomedea

Size: Albatross are huge. Gigantic in fact! They have an average length of 112 cm and an average weight of 8.5 kg. Males are slightly heavier than females. There wingspan is around 3 metres! Thats around 10ft.

Diet: Just like many sea dwelling birds, these birds have a diet based around squid, fish and other crustaceans. They eat within a 1250km radius of their breeding site.

Life Expectancy: They can live into their 40s!

royal-albatross3-223Reproduction: Pairs of albatross nest on grasslands and then both parents will incubate the egg. They breed in New Zealand and raise a chick every other year. The chick hatches in February to March and will then take flight for the first time in October to early December. The fledgling process is helped by the strong winds New Zealand experiences at that time.

Conservation: Currently these birds are classed as vulnerable according to the IUCN red list. This is because the population is still recovering after it was predated on heavily by humans in the 1930s. Other threats to these birds include farming on breeding grounds and animals like pigs and cats taking their eggs. Another threat to the albatross is being caught as bycatch in fisheries which could amount to the death of thousands of birds every year. However the population is currently stable and there are efforts to protect their breeding grounds.

The Coolest Thing Ever About This Species: The albatross are migratory birds and some have been reported to cover 190,000km a year! One migration of a bird was calculated to cover 13,000km in just two weeks!

I guess to summarise these birds are big and beautiful. They deserve protecting and are an important part of terrestrial and marine ecology. Thats why they had to be the species of the month!

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ThatBiologist Everywhere!

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