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Laysan Albatross

Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Camera Host: Anonymous

Find more about Weather in Kilauea, HI

September 12, 2014

Albatross Cam Timeline 2014

Did you enjoy the Albatross Cam this year? Are you missing the beautiful family and the many visitors Laysan Albatross chick Kaloakulua received daily? You can relive the highs and the lows of the 2014 breeding season with the Albatross Cam Timeline (it may take a moment to load thumbnails, that's normal!) http://bit.ly/AlbatrossCam2014_Timeline Many thanks to viewers for your amazing @albatorsscam Tweets and screen captures posted to our Bird Cams Flickr Group https://www.flickr.com/groups/cornellbirdcams/pool. Some of you may be featured in the timeline! We would also like to thank the Kauai Albatross Network http://www.albatrosskauai.org/wp/, our amazing volunteers and everyone else who played their part in caring for the albatrosses and helping to make this cam possible. More...

August 21, 2014

Albatross Cam Highlights 2014

Are you missing Kauai Laysan Albatross Kaloakulua? Take a trip down memory lane and check out these highlights from the Albatross Cam 2014 season. Thanks to the viewers and cam operators for making this season so memorable and special thanks to the Kauai Albatross Network, to the landowners and to donors for making this season possible. 

July 07, 2014

Mango Fledged

The second Kauai Laysan Albatross nestling Mango fledged this morning at 10AM HST from the surface of the infinity pool! This image captured him warming up yesterday prior to today's flight to the great blue beyond. May the fishing be fruitful and the wind strong, young albatross! (image courtesy of the Kauai Albatross Network—http://albatrosskauai.org/) More...

August 21, 2014

Albatross Cam Highlights 2014

Are you missing Kauai Laysan Albatross Kaloakulua? Take a trip down memory lane and check out these highlights from the Albatross Cam 2014 season. Thanks to the viewers and cam operators for making this season so memorable and special thanks to the Kauai Albatross Network, to the landowners and to donors for making this season possible. 

June 27, 2014

Mango Continues Flight Practice

During sunrise we watch Mango continue to practice for flight, taking flappy runs up the knoll. The Laysan Albatross live stream ends at sunset, we are likely to miss Mango's fledge, but hope he has a successful first flight. Thanks to Elizabeth Smith for the video. 

June 25, 2014

Mango Remains After Kaloakulua Fledge

With Kaloakulua now gone it's Mango's turn on the runway, practicing flapping and hopping. The young bird will be in the air soon following Kaloakulua north towards Alaska. Thanks to Elizabeth Smith for the video. 

May 22

Mango is Banded

Just after Kaloakulua’s feed from male parent Kaluakane, Mango is visited by the Kauai Albatross Network volunteers and is banded. His/her new band is A239. When he/she eventually returns to land after fledging he/she will hopefully be identified. Kaloakulua did not get banded on the same day as she is to receive a different band. In mid-June Kaloakulua will be getting a special band with a geolocator. When she returns in 3-4 years, we will learn of her travels!  

April 02

The Results Are In. Kaloakulua is FEMALE!

A DNA sample was taken from Kaloakulua when scientists Lindsay Young, PhD of Pacific Rim Conservation and Brooke McFarland from State of Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife, visited the nest site March 18. The visit was supported by Kauai Albatross Network http://albatrosskauai.org. Today we can confirm that the DNA test indicates that the Laysan Albatross nestling we have been watching for just over 9 weeks is female! 

March 27

A First Glimpse at Kaloakulua's New Adult Plumage

Young Laysan Albatrosses start to look like adults as soon as they get rid of their initial downy coat. As they grow and start to approach fledging, the brown/ grey down feathers fall away to reveal brown and white adult-like plumage beneath. The chicks begin to shed their down feathers from their underparts upward.  More...

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

These two Laysan Albatrosses were banded as adults on Kauai in 2008. We don’t know their ages exactly, but they are at least nine years old. The pair nested on this property in 2012-2013, although last year their nest was not successful.

The two birds were given names by a Hawaiian kumu, or teacher. The male’s name is Kaluakane and the female’s name is Kaluahine. (Learn more about their names.) It’s very difficult to tell the two parents 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

This Laysan Albatross nest is in the yard 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 and other vegetation, placed directly on the ground. Ornamental shrubs and palms help shade the nest from the tropical sun. A neat lawn leads about 150 feet to a steep bluff over the Pacific Ocean, providing an excellent runway for the adults and, eventually, the chick, to take off. There is another Laysan Albatross nest in the same yard, about 30 feet from this one.

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 grateful for the help of the Kauai Albatross Network for finding this albatross nest, and to kumu Sabra Kauka for naming the albatrosses.

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

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