Laysan Albatross (Diomedea immutabilis)




Where and When

The most abundant albatross of the North Pacific. Breeds during the northern winter (October to May). The bulk of the population breeds on the northern Hawaiian Islands (Kure east to Kauai and Oahu) with smaller numbers in the Japanese Ogsawara Islands (Torishima) and a few on islands off Baja California, Mexico (Guadalupe Island, Alijos Rocks and in the Revillagigedo Islands). Worldwide there are around 600,000 breeding pairs with evidence of expansion.

Non-breeding birds range widely in the north Pacific dispersing into transitional (30-45 degress North) and sub-arctic waters (the Bering Sea). Densities highest over continental slope shelfs and ocean basins. More abundant that Black-footed in western Pacific, while the opposite holds true in the eastern Pacific. This may relate to differences in feeding strategies, Laysan's taking mainly small fish with Black-footed specializing on squid. Spend the first 1-3 yrs of life at sea

Photos and information on the web

Series showing adults and chicks from Midway Island in the Hawaiian Chain. Photographer unknown.

Adult at sea Photo by Ryan Shaw

Sideview of adult at sea Photo by Ryan Shaw


Fisher, H.A. 1975. Mortality and survival in the Laysan Albatross Diomedea immutabilis. Pacific Science 29: p279-300.

Fisher, M.L. 1970. 'The albatross of Midway Island: a natural history of the Laysan Albatross.' Carbondale, Southern Illinois Universtiy Press, 155 pp.

Gould, P.J. and R. Hobbs. (1993) Population dynamics of the Laysan and other albatrosses in the North Pacific. International North Pacific Fisheries Commission Bulletin 53: p485-498.

Howell, S.N.G. and S.W. Webb. (1992) Changing status of the Laysan Albatross in Mexico. American Birds 46(2): p220-223.

Johnson, S.A. (1990) Albatrosses of Midway Island. Carol Rhoda Books, Minneapolis, MN.

Copyright © 2002 All rights reserved. Angus Wilson
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