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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Black-footed Albatross Phoebastria nigripes

The black-footed albatross is a dark-colored sea bird often seen in summer off North America’s west coast. One of three species of albatross found in the north Pacific, its dark underwings distinguish it from the other two. It is fond of scavenging, and often follows trawlers and shrimping boats to catch discarded offal. Black-footed albatrosses breed in colonies on islands in the central and western Pacific. Like other albatrosses, they perform elaborate courtship displays. All albatrosses are monogamous, pairing up to breed with the same partner each fall.

Long-line Fishing and the Black-footed Albatross

The black-footed albatross is a frequent victim of long-line fishing, which involves trailing lines that carry thousands of baited hooks. Albatrosses swallow the bait and become caught. Long-line fishing is estimated to kill at least 300,000 sea birds of all kinds each year.

Black-footed Albatrosszoom image
  • Order Procellariiformes
  • Length 27–29 in (68–74 cm)
  • Weight 6–7 lb (3–3.5 kg)
  • Habitat Open ocean, atolls, isolated islands
  • Distribution North Pacific, Johnston Island and Marshall Islands
Black-footed Albatross habitat mapzoom image