Laysan Albatross

Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Camera Host: Anonymous

Find more about Weather in Kilauea, HI

July 01, 2018

Makalii Fledges From Kauai!

After spending 155 days growing up on the north shore of Kauai, Makalii finally spread her wings and departed on her first flight over the Pacific Ocean on July 1. Enjoy this picture of Makalii on one of her last days on land for years to come! Photo credit: Louise Barnfield 

June 25, 2018

Albatross Update: Moikeha Fledges!

At approximately 146 days post hatch, Laysan Albatross chick Moikeha was the first on-cam chick to take to the skies! The chick from nest #2 fledged sometime over the weekend after spending plenty of time preparing by the bluff. Check out a photo of her looking almost down-free in the days leading up to the first flight. In other news, Makalii continues to spend plenty of time relaxing in the shade near the hibiscus plants (one of the chick's favorite resting places), and Kiamanu continues to grow and looks healthy. More updates to come, so stay tuned!  

June 20, 2018

Laysan Albatross Cam Update: Nest #2

Moikeha from nest #2 is further along in her juvenile transformation than any of the on-cam chicks up to this point. KAN members report that she is still spending most of her days out in the field. Photo credit: Hob Osterlund 

June 13, 2018

Albatross Chick Kauapea Climbs Atop Rock On Last Day of Cam Season

Laysan Albatross chicks aren't the most sure-footed beings, but they are resilient! Watch Kauapea regain her balance and climb up on a rock near the palms after losing her footing in this highlight clip from the last day of the Kauai Laysan Albatross cam season. Thanks to all of the viewers who watched and learned along with us this year! We'd also like to extend a special thanks to the private landowner, our volunteers, and our partners at the Kauai Albatross Network for making 2018 another special season. We hope to see you again next year! 

June 06, 2018

Albatross Chick Moikeha's Downy Mane Blows in the Wind

In the middle of a full-body transformation, Moikeha sits in a grassy field as the wind blows her downy mane. The gray down on the head and breast are the last to be lost before Laysan Albatross chicks reveal their full set of juvenile feathers. 

June 04, 2018

Moikeha Spreads Wings On Windy Morning

The breeze blowing through the north shore of Kauai is met with open wings by albatross chick Moikeha. 

July 01

Makalii Fledges From Kauai!

After spending 155 days growing up on the north shore of Kauai, Makalii finally spread her wings and departed on her first flight over the Pacific Ocean on July 1. Enjoy this picture of Makalii on one of her last days on land for years to come! Photo credit: Louise Barnfield 

June 25

Albatross Update: Moikeha Fledges!

At approximately 146 days post hatch, Laysan Albatross chick Moikeha was the first on-cam chick to take to the skies! The chick from nest #2 fledged sometime over the weekend after spending plenty of time preparing by the bluff. Check out a photo of her looking almost down-free in the days leading up to the first flight. In other news, Makalii continues to spend plenty of time relaxing in the shade near the hibiscus plants (one of the chick's favorite resting places), and Kiamanu continues to grow and looks healthy. More updates to come, so stay tuned!  

June 08

Laysan Albatross Cam Winding Down On June 13

Though the cam's new location this year provided new perspectives, it also creates logistical issues for ongoing activity on the property. Due to this overlap, we'll be winding down the cam the night of June 13, approximately 2 weeks prior to anticipated fledge. The three albatross chicks that hatched on cam have become very adventuresome, wandering far (and often out of view). This behavior is a good indicator of their vitality, and it bodes well for fledging. Even thought the live cam will be winding down, volunteers will continue to post updates and images from this year's cam stars. We'd like to send a special thanks to everyone who donated to support the efforts of Save Our Shearwaters to supplementally feed Kiamanu after her father, Jett, disappeared early in the season, and to our awesome cam ops & tweeting volunteers who keep everyone up-to-date and in view! Lastly, we’d like to offer sincere thanks to our cam host, who has welcomed us to the property for 18+ months over the last 36 & allowed us to share the wonder of being near these magnificent birds—MAHALO! Please share your favorite memories & views from the season to recap! 

Laysan Albatross

Ground

Nest Placement

Females place their nests on sparsely vegetated ground, typically close to a small shrub if available.

Nest Description

On sandy islands such as Midway and Laysan, the female lies in the sand and scrapes out a hollow with her feet. By rotating around, she forms a circular depression, then gives the nest a low rim by assembling twigs, leaves, and sand picked up from the immediate area around the nest. On larger islands such as Kauai, Hawaii, the birds nest more often on grass or under trees and build the nest rim from leaf litter, ironwood needles, and twigs. The nest (including rim) is about 3 feet in diameter and a couple of inches deep. Often the female continues nest construction while incubation is under way.

Clutch Size

1-1 eggs

Incubation Period

62-66 days

Nestling Period

165-165 days

Egg Description

Creamy white with brown spotting.

Condition at Hatching

Covered in gray-white down giving a salt-and-pepper appearance; eyes are open; weighing about 7 ounces.

Fish

Food

Laysan Albatrosses eat mainly squid as well as fish eggs, crustaceans, floating carrion, and some discards from fishing boats. They feed by sitting on the water and plunging with their beaks to seize prey near the surface. Adults with chicks to feed take foraging trips that last up to 17 days and travel 1,600 miles away from their nest (straight-line distance).

Typical Voice

Laysan Albatrosses make a variety of whining, squeaking, grunting, and moaning calls on the breeding grounds, particularly during courtship.more sounds

See full Species Info at All About Birds

About the Albatrosses

There are three nests on camera this year. The single nest (nest #1) features the female Namaka (banded KP085) and male Aukele (KP669). There are two nests situated between the rows of palms; the nest nearest to the cam (nest #2) is tended by the female Moana (H633) and Manawanui (KP796), who successfully raised Honua at this property back in 2016. The albatrosses on the nest farthest from the cam (nest #3) are the female Bennie (H632) and male Jett (K747), who were unsuccessful in raising a chick last year at this property.

All of the birds were given names by a Hawaiian kumu, or teacher (Learn more about their names.). It’s very difficult to tell adults apart by sight unless you can glimpse their band numbers. Laysan Albatrosses are large seabirds, though they are small compared to other albatrosses. They measure about 2.5 feet long and can weigh 10 pounds. Their wingspan is about 7 feet.

Albatrosses lay only one egg per year at most. Incubation takes about 64 days. The two parents take turns incubating the egg, with the male taking the first shift. Incubation shifts can last several weeks, and the incubating bird fasts during that time. After hatching, the parents go on long foraging trips during which they may travel 1,600 miles and stay away for up to 17 days. The chick takes about 5.5 months to grow to adult size and take to the air. Once in flight, these young birds will not touch land again for 3–5 years.

About the Nest

These Laysan Albatross nests are on the property of a private residence on the north shore of Kauai, near the town of Kilauea, Hawaii. The nest is a neat bowl of dry ironwood needles, wood chips, and other vegetation, placed directly on the ground. Ornamental shrubs and palms help shade the nest from the tropical sun. A neat lawn leads away from the nests to a steep bluff over the Pacific Ocean, providing an excellent runway for the adults and, eventually, the chick, to take off.

Acknowledgments

Thanks to the landowners, who wish to remain anonymous, for allowing us access to this nest and to the property manager for helping to maintain the camera during the season. We are also grateful for the help of the Kauai Albatross Network for finding this albatross nest.

More questions about the albatrosses? Check our Albatross Cam FAQ page.