February 14, 2017 – Chatham Albatross, Chatham Mollymawk, or Chatham Islands Mollymawk (Thalassarche eremita)
These albatrosses are found in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and the west coast of South America. Their diet includes fish, krill, barnacles, and cephalopods. A pelagic species, they spend the majority of their time at sea, only returning to land to breed. They breed on an island known as the Pyramid, located at the southern end of the Chatham Islands. Nests are tightly packed on the steep cliffs of the island. These cliffs allow the nests to be accessed from the air and easily defended from predators. Like other albatross species, they are monogamous and share in incubation and care of the chicks. They are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN because of their small breeding range, despite their apparently stable population.
Happy Valentine’s Day!