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Black-footed Albatross

Silhouette SeabirdsSeabirds
Black-footed AlbatrossPhoebastria nigripes
  • ORDER: Procellariiformes
  • FAMILY: Diomedeidae

Basic Description

There are few things as wondrous as watching an albatross glide and wheel over the open ocean with barely a wingbeat. Feathered mostly in brown, with a milky wash over the face, the Black-footed uses its powerful sense of smell to find concentrations of squid, which they seize with their sharp-edged bills. Like many albatross species, they are famous for their long lives, lifelong pair bonds, and elaborate courtship dances. They, along with many seabirds, face a range of ocean-health threats including climate change and fishing bycatch.

More ID Info
image of range map for Black-footed Albatross
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

Only three albatross species regularly occur in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Black-footed is the species most likely to be seen off the West Coast of North America. You’re not likely to see them from shore, so your best bet is to join a pelagic birding trip that will take you offshore from places like Half Moon Bay, California. In a pinch, joining a whale-watching trip may work to turn up a Black-footed Albatross as well, especially July to October.

Other Names

  • Albatros Patinegro (Spanish)
  • Albatros à pieds noirs (French)
  • Cool Facts