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Laysan Albatross

Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Camera Host: Anonymous

Find more about Weather in Kilauea, HI

May 18, 2018

Kiamanu Catches Raindrops on Laysan Albatross Cam

Watch Kiamanu nibble at raindrops on a wet morning on the Garden Isle.  

May 17, 2018

Moikeha Shows Off Wingspan

Watch Moikeha show off her expansive set of wings, which will extend 6.5 feet from tip to tip when it comes time to fledge.  

May 16, 2018

Kiamanu Spreads Wings, Spins For The Camera

Kiamanu spreads her wings wide and twirls around, ensuring the camera gets a good look at her developing juvenile plumage. 

May 18, 2018

Kiamanu Catches Raindrops on Laysan Albatross Cam

Watch Kiamanu nibble at raindrops on a wet morning on the Garden Isle.  

May 17, 2018

Moikeha Shows Off Wingspan

Watch Moikeha show off her expansive set of wings, which will extend 6.5 feet from tip to tip when it comes time to fledge.  

May 16, 2018

Kiamanu Spreads Wings, Spins For The Camera

Kiamanu spreads her wings wide and twirls around, ensuring the camera gets a good look at her developing juvenile plumage. 

April 10

Supplemental Feeding for Kiamanu After Jett's Disappearance

As many viewers have noticed, Jett, Kiamanu’s father, has not been seen on camera for more than six weeks. Although the mother, Bennie, has continued feeding Kiamanu during Jett’s absence, there is growing concern that she will be the sole provider if Jett does not return, raising the question of whether Kiamanu will receive enough food. Our partners at the Kauai Albatross Network and Save Our Shearwaters at the Kauai Humane Society, along with the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and the Hawaii Wildlife Center, are working to monitor Kiamanu’s health. On Monday, April 9, they conducted their first assessment and are now planning to provide supplemental feedings until fledging (unless Jett returns.) These feedings should improve the likelihood that Kiamanu will survive to fledge while still only being fed by a single parent. Globally, Laysan Albatrosses are listed as near-threatened, with 99% of their breeding populations existing on low-lying atolls that are predicted to be submerged by sea level rise due to climate change. “High” islands like Oahu and Kauai are thought to be a key refuge for albatrosses in the future, and the birds are monitored with a goal of sustaining and increasing the breeding population. This management has included actions such as habitat restoration, predator fencing, translocating eggs into nests with infertile pairs, translocating chicks to establish new colony sites, and rehabilitation of chicks and adults when possible. Read our article from 2014 about the complex challenge of albatross conservation. You can help support the supplemental feeding efforts by making a donation via the Kauai Humane Society site (visit http://bit.ly/kiamanu-donation), being sure to write “For the Albatross Chick” in the large box on the form labeled "Send an Acknowledgement to" below your donation amount. Thanks to all of the viewers and cam operators who have tracked the movements of the albatrosses on cam, and to our partners involved in albatross conservation on Kauai. Click "More" for a version of this update with hyperlinked resources about albatross conservation on Kauai.  More...

February 03

Kiamanu Hatches On Nest #3!

Meet Kiamanu, the third and final on-cam chick, who hatched on February 3 after spending 65 days of incubation! Kiamanu (pronounced KEE-ah-mah-new) is named in honor of the ancient Hawaiian "bird feather gatherers" whose methodic, highly varied, and meticulous gathering practices over many generations has provided for feather-work unrivaled in artistry and detail. 

January 30

Nest #1's Egg Hatches Overnight—Welcome Makalii!

In the late night hours of January 29, the chick on nest #1 finally emerged from its shell after after having pipped on January 26. Here we see Aukele, the male on the nest, welcome his newly hatched chick, Makalii (Makali`i in Hawaiian; pronounced mah-kah-lee-ee). Makalii (meaning "eye of the Pleiades") is named after the navigator of chief Hawai`iloa, the discoverer of Hawai`i in Hawaiian legends.  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

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.