One of the largest seabirds on the planet, the albatross is a powerhouse of flight that only comes back to land to breed. Their gliding capabilities are made possible by giant wings—up to 3.6 meters (12 feet) in length—and biological traits like the special sensory organs in their long nostrils. Like an aircraft’s pitot tube, an albatross’ tube-like nostrils help the expert flier measure changes in airspeed while it’s in the air.
“By exploiting the energy of the wind, they expend almost none of their own. This aerial efficiency is what makes such a big body capable of flying non-stop for over 16,000 kilometers without the need to set foot on dry land for years at a time.”
• KidsKonnect Albatross Facts & Worksheets
• Northern Royal Albatross live stream at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, hosted by the New Zealand Department of Conservation
Then watch these related bird flight videos:
• The physics of why birds fly in V-formation
• Why peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on earth
• Birds gliding through helium bubbles reveal an aerodynamic trick
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