19 Jun 2020

World Albatross Day

Celebrating World Albatross Day & Honouring the 'Albatross Isles' of the Southern Ocean

On 19 June 2020, the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP) inaugurates the first ever 'World Albatross Day,' celebrated online around the globe. The day honours and raises awareness of these magnificent birds and highlights the ongoing conservation crisis they face.  Each year, thousands of Albatrosses die as a result of longline fisheries, introduced pests, exposure to marine pollution and plastics and other human-induced threats. A worldwide effort is required to protect these global travellers.

Thirteen of the planet's 23 species of Albatross breed in New Zealand, almost exclusively on the Subantarctic Islands and Chatham Islands.* Each year, Heritage Expeditions ventures to these windswept refuges of the Southern Ocean to witness the magic of these exquisite ocean wanderers. Additionally, we see three North Pacific species annually – Laysan, Black-footed and Short-tailed Albatross – on our expeditions in the Northern Hemisphere.

Our conservation is firmly based around educating our guests through experiential learning and providing funds for research and management, and through our partner voyages with Forest & Bird and Department of Conservation.

It is with great privilege that we pay tribute to the Albatross. We invite you to enjoy the film below highlighting some of our favourite Albatross sightings from our voyages through the Southern Ocean. Read on to discover fun facts, Albatross Tracking App, as well as live streaming footage of a Northern Royal Albatross nest!


Royal Cam: Live Stream

Albatross nest at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, NZ

Royal Cam is a 24-hour live stream of a Northern Royal Albatross nest during the breeding season. This season's chick, a female, hatched on 31 January 2020.

Albatross Fun Facts

  1. Natural sea legs – The largest of seabirds, Albatross spend 85 percent of their long life at sea.

  2. The globetrotter – The Gray-headed Albatross can circle the globe in only 46 days, making various pit stops along the way.

  3. Not just any old bird - Wisdom, a Laysan Albatross, is the world's oldest banded bird. At least 69 years old, she has raised 30 chicks–the most recent just last year!

  4. Masters of flight – Albatross can coast for hundreds of kilometres, reaching speeds of more than 100kph, without ever having to flap their wings as masters of 'dynamic soaring.'

  5. Following their beaks – Albatross have such a keen sense of smell they can sniff out a meal of dead fish or squid up to 20-kilometres away.

  6. “Kiwi as” – 13 of the world's 23 species of Albatross breed in New Zealand, almost exclusively on the Subantarctic and Chatham Islands.

  7. Love birds – Albatross are only socially monogamous, engaging in 'extra-pair copulation' while maintaining a life-long bond with their partner.

Albatross Tracking App

In an effort to better understand their distribution and foraging range, Fisheries New Zealand and Department of Conservation started tracking 75 Antipodean and Gibson's Wandering Albatross in real time in 2019. In addition to these, data from Salvin's Albatross was also included in this App. 

With the Albatross Tracking App, an interactive website, you can view the flight path and last location of over 130 Albatrosses – and even filter by species, life stage and sex.


Subantarctic Islands Season 2020-2021

Join us on an extraordinary voyage through New Zealand and Australia's Subantarctic Islands

Galapagos of the Southern Ocean: Subantarctic Islands
30 Nov – 12 Dec 2020
12 – 24 Nov 2020 New Voyage
11 – 23 Dec 2020
Invercargill, NZ and Return
Aboard the Spirit of Enderby

Forgotten Islands of the South Pacific: Subantarctic Islands
23 – 30 Dec 2020
Invercargill, NZ and Return
Aboard the Spirit of Enderby

Chatham Islands: A Land Apart
13– 22 Mar 2021
Invercargill, NZ to Christchurch, NZ
Aboard the Spirit of Enderby


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