Black-footed Albatross

Phoebastria nigripes




Albatross (Diomedeidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Creamy white.

Number of Eggs:


Incubation Days:

63 - 68

Egg Incubator:

Both sexes

Nest Location:

In sand.

Nest Material:

No material added to nest.





Black-footed Albatross: Very large seabird with long wings, gray-brown or dusky brown body, white ring around face at base of the bill and under eye. Uppertail coverts pale gray. Most have dark undertail coverts, although some exhibit white undertail and belly; dark bill and feet. Sexes are similar; males slightly larger overall with a larger bill. Older birds become paler on head and neck. Juvenile has even dark plumage with little to no white feathers on the rear of the body; has reduced or no white area around bill.

Range and Habitat

Black-footed Albatross: Ranges from the sub-Arctic sea, beyond the Hawaiian Islands, to the China Sea and to the North American coast, as far as Baja California. Once nested on many islands in the Pacific Ocean, but now breeds only on the Hawaiian archipelago. When not at sea, they choose bare slopes and coastlines with little vegetation, or with short turf, on which to breed.

Breeding and Nesting

Black-footed Albatross: These birds are monogamous, the breeding pair remaining together throughout their lives. Nest building is usually contributed to by both sexes. The nest is usually built on an exposed, sandy beach. One creamy white egg is laid in a shallow depression in the sand. Incubation ranges from 63 to 68 days and is carried out by both parents.

Foraging and Feeding

Black-footed Albatross: These birds feed mainly on fish, crustaceans and squid. They often follow ships at sea for food, usually feeding on garbage thrown overboard. Food is taken in the tip of the beak. They may make shallow dives for food from surface. They rarely have access to fresh water, even at breeding colonies. At sea, they consume seawater and wash the beak after feeding.


Black-footed Albatross: Species emits croaks, whistles, and mechanical noises. Calls may include “ha-ha, ha-ha” or "uuwoouu."

Similar Species

Black-footed Albatross: Laysan and Short-tailed Albatrosses have large areas of white on their bodies. Immature Short-tailed Albatross has pink bill with bluish tip.

Undertail covertsX
Small feathers that cover the areas where the retrices (tail feathers) attach to the rump.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X