Australian Wildlife

  Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans)

Wandering Albatross | Diomedea exulans photo
Wandering Albatross

Image by Mark Jobling - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Wandering Albatross | Diomedea exulans photo
Wandering albatross. Diomedea exulans.

Image by Dimitri Damasceno - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)


The Wandering Albatross has the longest wingspan of all ocean birds. It can remain in the air without beating its wings for several hours at a time. The plumage changes with age. Juveniles start off chocolate brown, becoming whiter as they mature. The adults Wandering Albatross has a white body with black and white wings. Males have whiter wings than females with only the tips and trailing edges of the wings black. There is a faint peach coloured spot on the side of the head. The Wandering Albatross is whiter than the Royal Albatross which has more brown and black on the wings and body. The bill and feet are pink. Wandering Albatrosses have a salt gland above the nasal passage to drain excess salt from their bodies, due to the amount of ocean water that they drink.

Other Names
Cape Sheep, Man-of-War Bird, Snowy Albatross, White-winged Albatross

Length: 100cm - 135m. Wingspan 2.7m - 3.5m. Weight: 6.2511.3 kg

southern oceans

The Wandering Albatross feeds on cephalopods, small fish, and crustaceans, and some carrion. They feed at night and can make shallow dives for food.

The Wandering Albatross breeds every second year. They nest in loose colonies on remote island groups in the Southern Ocean. The female lays a single white egg with a few spots. The nest is a large bowl built of grassy vegetation and peat. Both parents incubate the egg which hatches after about 11 weeks. Albatrosses usually pair for life. The young start breeding at about 11 to 15 years.

The Wandering Albatross breeds on South Georgia Island, Macquarie Island and other islands of southern oceans. It is found in all the southern oceans. It is a regular visitor to Australian waters to Fremantle in Western Australia and up the east coast to the Whitsundays in Queensland

distribution map showing range of Diomedea exulans in Australia

Map is from Atlas of Living Australia website at https://biocache.ala.org.au licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License

Common Name:Wandering Albatross

Relatives in same Genus
  Royal Albatross (D. epomophora)