Not a line from the old Monty Python skit – a real Albatross as in Galapagos or Waved Albatross. This is the largest bird in the Galapagos with a wingspan of up to 8 ft. They are incredible flyers and can stay aloft for amazingly long periods – often without even flapping their wings. They routinely fly up to 100km from their nests just to gather food for their young. They are so proficient they can even fly while sleeping – much like several airline pilots in the news lately.
They go to Galapagos island of Espanola to mate (which they do for life) and then rear their young. They are normally found on the cliff end of the island so they can launch themselves off the cliffs to begin their flights – It is hard for them to flap their large wings fast enough to fly without this gravity assist. One of the other notable behaviours of these majestic birds is their mating ritual itself. The mating pair approach each other, sort of shake their beaks back and forth until they actually “clack” their bills together. They then open their jaws wide and throw their heads back in unison. Then repeat as necessary…. As with most other Galapagos species these birds do not appear to be disturbed by the presence of tourists even during their courting.