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Waved albatross.jpg
Waved albatross
Phoebastria irrorata
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Phylum Information
Superphylum Deuterostomia
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Order Information
Superorder Procellariimorphae
Order Procellariiformes
Sub-order Procellarae
Family Information
Superfamily Procellarioidea
Family Diomedeidae
Genus Information
Genera Diomedea
Population statistics

Albatrosses are large seabirds, normally found far out in the ocean. They use their very long wings to glide just above the waves, occasionally catching fish and squid. Albatrosses make their nests in large colonies on remote islands.


Scientists disagree about how many species of albatross exist; between thirteen and twenty-four have been proposed.

  • Genus Diomedea; Great albatrosses
Amsterdam albatross, Diomedea amsterdamensis
Antipodean albatross, Diomedea antipodensis
Northern royal albatross, Diomedea sanfordi
Southern royal albatross, Diomedea epomophora
Tristan albatross, Diomedea dabbenena
Wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans
  • Genus Phoebastria; North Pacific albatrosses
Black-footed albatross, Phoebastria nigripes
Laysan albatross, Phoebastria immutabilis
Short-tailed albatross, Phoebastria albatrus
Waved albatross, Phoebastria irrorata
  • Genus Phoebetria; Sooty albatrosses
Light-mantled albatross, Phoebetria palpebrata
Sooty albatross, Phoebetria fusca
  • Genus Thalassarche; Mollymawks
Atlantic Yellow-nosed albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos
Black-browed albatross, Thalassarche melanophrys
Buller's albatross, Thalassarche bulleri
Campbell albatross, Thalassarche impavida
Chatham albatross, Thalassarche eremita
Grey-headed albatross, Thalassarche chrysostoma
Indian Yellow-nosed albatross, Thalassarche carteri
Salvin's albatross, Thalassarche salvini
Shy albatross, Thalassarche cauta
White-capped albatross, Thalassarche steadi

Albatrosses in legend

The albatross is well known for its role in superstition. Albatrosses often follow ships, and were believed to be the souls of drowned sailors. It was considered to be bad luck to kill one. In Samuel Taylor Coleridge's epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, the mariner of the title tells a tale of the grim consequences of killing one of the birds.

In 1959 the crew of the ship Calpean Star, docked at Liverpool, refused to continue their voyage after they blamed on-board accidents on an albatross in the cargo, which was being taken to a zoo.