Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
Light-mantled Sooty Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata
Together with its close relative the sooty albatross, this is one of two southern albatrosses that have sooty brown plumage, as opposed to white and black. The sooty albatross is brown all over, but the light-mantled species has a pale gray nape and back—the feature that gives it its name. A graceful glider, it feeds on fish, squid, and crustaceans. It is also highly inquisitive and often follows ships. After spending the winter at sea, it returns to its breeding sites by August, the start of the southern spring. Female birds lay a single egg in early summer, and the chicks become independent about four months after they hatch—a relatively rapid development compared with that of the larger albatrosses.