Animals in danger of extinction in Ecuador: Galapagos albatross
Albatross pairs are monogamous and can stay together for more than 30 years. Photo: Archive
October 6, 2020 – 07h00
On the Spanish island of Galapagos lives one of the largest flying birds in the world: the Galapagos albatross. This animal is very sensitive to human presence and its population is threatened by various factors such as climate change, plant species introduced into its habitat and especially by longline fishing.
The bird goes down to look for food and is caught on the hooks of this fishing technique. Although there are ways to improve the way you fish, it is necessary to raise awareness among fishermen and also in the tour operators, so as not to invade the albatross space.
Some of the animal captures were made at El Pantanal Zoo, at km 23 via Daule, in the Guayas province
The wavy albatross, also called the Galapagos albatross, is named for the wave-shaped patterns on its wings. The greatest threat to this bird, which is in danger of extinction, is longline fishing, as it gets caught in the hooks when it goes down to the sea to look for food
Galapagos scale location. There are also a few birds on the Isla de la Plata, in Manabí
Between 50 and 80 thousand live on the island of Española, with more than 12 thousand breeding pairs
The only place where albatrosses go in large numbers to breed each year, especially in the center of the island
Albatross migration area: they reach southern Peru and few continue to Colombia and Chile
In flight, they reach speeds of up to 90 km / h
- A medium-sized man with open arms covers about 1.9 meters.
- With open wings it can measure up to 2.5 m
- The traveling albatross is the largest flying bird, measuring up to 3.5 m
- It is the only member of Diomedeidae
- Lives in the tropics
- Has a creamy or yellowish neck
- Receives the name ‘wavy’ due to the pattern of the feathers in adult birds
- Dark and expressive eyes
- Long bill with rounded tip
- Its legs keep it upright, but it sways awkwardly, a movement that exaggerates in courtship
- Large, webbed feet, which help support it in the water when swimming.
- Average weight: 2 kilos
- Life expectancy: 40 years
These birds court each other with a unique dance, including rocking, beak tapping, and flexing expressions, to select their mate for life.
The “courtship” lasts about two years, and they can be together for more than 30 years.
They lay an egg on each landfall. It takes two months to hatch. Both albatrosses hatch it, and when the chick is born, they both feed it.
Its space on land
On Española Island, they nest on rocky ground or in spaces without vegetation.
Years ago, the island was looted by pirates and lost its turtle population, changed its natural balance and became full of vegetation.
Now landing strips and nesting fields are created for albatrosses, facilitating their arrival. In addition, there was a project to repopulate the island with its natural turtles
Diego, of the Chelonoidis hoodensis species, helped repopulate Española Island.
In 2021, a comprehensive census will be carried out throughout the island to determine the number of individuals and colonies.
In Isla de la Plata, there are currently only two couples and other solitary individuals. Despite this, it is believed that it would be a viable habitat alternative.
The main threats are:
- Longline fishing
- Changes in vegetation
- Human presence
- Fishermen can be taught to improve technique
- Rodents and predators
- Climate change
- Loss of habitat and contamination
Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021