As described by National Geographic here, albatrosses are enormous seabirds that belong to the Diomedeidae family and can have a wingspan of up to 11 feet.
They have a reputation for only coming ashore to breed. Flight recordings have demonstrated that albatrosses are actually capable of travelling up to 10,000 miles in a single flight and circumnavigating the globe in 46 days thanks to their special flight mode.
Charles Eldermire, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Bird Cams Project Leader, verified in a statement that albatrosses do indeed land on water to feed, even though they may spend days in the air.
The non-profit organisation BirdLife South Africa’s Albatross Task Force Manager, Andrea Angel, noted that because albatrosses can only find food in the ocean, they must land on bodies of water.
Albatrosses hunt for trash off fishing boats or catch fish or squid at the ocean’s surface because they are unable to dive to great depths.
Before growing and returning to the island, typically after they have fledged, to locate a mate, the larger albatross species can require “up to 6 years,” according to Angel.
Wandering albatrosses, for instance, return to the sea to search for food during the nestling stage of a single egg, which can last up to 10 months and is cared for by mates alternately, while their other mate remains on the island with their young.
She said that despite this, albatrosses “certainly spend more time in the air than on the water’s surface” because these landings require more energy than flying.