Story: Albatrosses

Northern royal albatross

Northern royal albatross

Albatrosses use very little energy to cover huge distances across the ocean. They use the wind for lift, their narrow cambered wings acting as an aerofoil like those of a glider. A shoulder-lock tendon helps brace the wings, reducing the effort for muscles. The birds face into the wind to gain height, and coast in a wide, descending loop, gradually losing height until they need to climb again. In stormy seas they gain lift from wind deflected upwards by waves.

About this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10025699
Photograph by C. J. R. Robertson

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How to cite this page:

Paul Sagar, 'Albatrosses - Albatrosses', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/7053/northern-royal-albatross (accessed 26 April 2017)

Story by Paul Sagar, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015