Posted by: danielfee | February 1, 2012

Travel Photo of the Day 02-01-2012

Waved Albatross – Galapagos Islands

The waved albatross of the Galapagos Islands is the only albatross that breeds in the tropics. There are approximately 12,000 breeding pairs in the world. Albatross need winds of at least 18 km/hour (11.2 mph) to stay afloat. Their breeding is tied rigidly to the trade winds that blow between March and December. During January and February they disperse into the Humboldt Current off Ecuador and Peru and are virtually unseen in the Galapagos. Waved albatross mate for life, but after months at sea the bond must be reestablished. They have developed an elaborate ritual that includes a swaggering gate, mooing, bill-circling and bill-clappering, sky pointing and gaping. The ritual is also preformed as they are preparing to depart for their two month hiatus. During our visit in December we were treated to two mating pairs performing the ritual for more than 45 minutes.

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