Laysan Albatross

Location: Kauai, Hawaii

Camera Host: Anonymous

Find more about Weather in Kilauea, HI

October 16, 2018

Kauai Laysan Albatross Cam Offline For 2019

After 5 years of dedication and hard work, the Kauai Albatross Network (KAN) and the landowner have decided to take the upcoming year off from 24/7 streaming on Kauai’s North Shore. When the Cornell Lab began working with KAN back in 2012 to (eventually) identify locations and landowners that would work to bring the world of Laysan Albatrosses to the world in 2014, we never could have imagined the reaction from the online community or the amount of effort it would take to have this kind of impact. Together, in the last 5 years, we have shared the lives of Laysan Albatrosses on the Garden Isle for 30 months (out of the last 72!). Viewers from over 190 countries have tuned in to the livestream 60 million times for a combined 450 million minutes. Our Albatross cam volunteers have posted over 20 thousand tweets and shared over 9000 images from the @AlbatrossCam Twitter account, identified 198 walkers, and interacted with thousands of cam watchers through social media. From all of us at the Cornell Lab's Bird Cams project, we wanted to say “Thank You” to our partners at KAN, the cam site landowners, all of our viewers and volunteers, and anyone who has watched and learned along with us over these past 5 years. Click "More" to enjoy a highlight video of some of our all-time favorite moments from the Kauai Laysan Albatross cam, and please share your own favorite memories in the comments below. Mahalo! More...

July 14, 2018

Final 2018 Cam Star Fledges As Kiamanu Takes Flight!

Members of the Kauai Albatross Network report that Kiamanu has finally taken wing over the Pacific Ocean! After practicing her wing-flapping (click the link at the end of this post for a video) in the days leading up to fledge, Kiamanu is thought to have left sometime between Friday, July 13, and early the next morning when KAN members arrived to check on the young albatross. A special thanks to 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, who helped monitor Kiamanu’s health and supplement her with feedings after her father, Jett, stopped returning to feed the chick over the breeding season. And a very special thanks to all of you who donated to support this effort! Kaimanu's first flight marks the third successful fledge of our three cam stars in 2018. Thanks to everyone who watched and learned along with us during the breeding season! Photo credit: Louise Barnfield More...

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 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. 

October 16

Kauai Laysan Albatross Cam Offline For 2019

After 5 years of dedication and hard work, the Kauai Albatross Network (KAN) and the landowner have decided to take the upcoming year off from 24/7 streaming on Kauai’s North Shore. When the Cornell Lab began working with KAN back in 2012 to (eventually) identify locations and landowners that would work to bring the world of Laysan Albatrosses to the world in 2014, we never could have imagined the reaction from the online community or the amount of effort it would take to have this kind of impact. Together, in the last 5 years, we have shared the lives of Laysan Albatrosses on the Garden Isle for 30 months (out of the last 72!). Viewers from over 190 countries have tuned in to the livestream 60 million times for a combined 450 million minutes. Our Albatross cam volunteers have posted over 20 thousand tweets and shared over 9000 images from the @AlbatrossCam Twitter account, identified 198 walkers, and interacted with thousands of cam watchers through social media. From all of us at the Cornell Lab's Bird Cams project, we wanted to say “Thank You” to our partners at KAN, the cam site landowners, all of our viewers and volunteers, and anyone who has watched and learned along with us over these past 5 years. Click "More" to enjoy a highlight video of some of our all-time favorite moments from the Kauai Laysan Albatross cam, and please share your own favorite memories in the comments below. Mahalo! More...

July 14

Final 2018 Cam Star Fledges As Kiamanu Takes Flight!

Members of the Kauai Albatross Network report that Kiamanu has finally taken wing over the Pacific Ocean! After practicing her wing-flapping (click the link at the end of this post for a video) in the days leading up to fledge, Kiamanu is thought to have left sometime between Friday, July 13, and early the next morning when KAN members arrived to check on the young albatross. A special thanks to 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, who helped monitor Kiamanu’s health and supplement her with feedings after her father, Jett, stopped returning to feed the chick over the breeding season. And a very special thanks to all of you who donated to support this effort! Kaimanu's first flight marks the third successful fledge of our three cam stars in 2018. Thanks to everyone who watched and learned along with us during the breeding season! Photo credit: Louise Barnfield More...

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 

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.