Laysan Albatross

Laysan Albatross

Rob Suryan

Latin name: Phoebastria immutabilis

Laysan albatrosses nest on remote islands of Japan, Hawaii, and Mexico. Albatrosses are monogamous, lay only one egg per year and both adults incubate the egg and feed the chick. Laysan Albatrosses have some of the highest plastic ingestion rate of any seabird globally. Plastic pieces found in nestling stomachs include cigarette lighters, toothbrushes, and rubber gloves. Dr. Rob Suryan uses miniature tracking devices to determine the at-sea distribution of these ocean wanders to help inform management decisions regarding commercial fisheries, offshore renewable energy, and marine protected areas.

Did you know? The oldest known wild bird is a Laysan Albatross on Midway Atoll, who at 66 years old, successfully hatched another chick in 2017! Her name is Wisdom and the USFWS maintains her very own Facebook page with over 300 followers:


Fischer, K. N., R. M. Suryan, D. D. Roby, and G. R. Balogh. 2009. Post-breeding season distribution of black-footed and Laysan albatrosses satellite-tagged in Alaska: Inter-specific differences in spatial overlap with North Pacific fisheries. Biological Conservation 142:751-760.

Guy, T. J., S. L. Jennings, R. M. Suryan, E. F. Melvin, M. A. Bellman, L. T. Ballance, B. A. Blackie, D. A. Croll, T. Deguchi, T. O. Geernaert, R. W. Henry, M. Hester, K. D. Hyrenbach, J. Jahncke, M. A. Kappes, K. Ozaki, J. Roletto, F. Sato, W. J. Sydeman, and J. E. Zamon. 2013. Overlap of North Pacific albatrosses with the U.S. west coast groundfish and shrimp fisheries. Fisheries Research 147:222-234.

Suryan, R. M., D. J. Anderson, S. A. Shaffer, D. D. Roby, Y. Tremblay, D. P. Costa, P. R. Sievert, F. Sato, K. Ozaki, G. R. Balogh, and N. Nakamura. 2008. Wind, waves, and wing Loading: morphological specialization may limit range expansion of endangered albatrosses. PLoS ONE 3:e4016. doi:4010.1371/journal.pone.0004016.

Suryan, R. M., and K. N. Fischer. 2010. Stable isotope analysis and satellite tracking reveal interspecific resource partitioning of nonbreeding albatrosses off Alaska. Canadian Journal of Zoology 88:299-305.