Sustained fast travel by a gray-headed albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) riding an Antarctic storm
A Gray-headed Albatross (Thalassarche chrysostoma) was recorded traveling, in the course of a foraging trip, at a minimum average ground speed of >110 km h(-1) for similar to9 h with virtually no rest. After taking into account the sinuosity of albatross flight, actual mean ground speed was predicted to be greater than or equal to127 km h(-1), achieved in association with high tailwinds during an Antarctic storm. Despite its high speed and the storminess of the sea, the albatross still managed to successfully locate and capture prey at a rate comparable to that achieved under less extreme conditions. This individual's performance suggests that albatrosses have the capacity to maintain positive energy budgets while quickly covering long distances and taking advantage of the strong winds that are frequent in the Southern Ocean. Received 3 November 2003, accepted 13 May 2004.
Authors: Catry, Paulo, Phillips, Richard A., Croxall, John P.