An albatross aloft can be a spectacular sight. These feathered giants have the longest wingspan of any bird—up to 11 feet! The wandering albatross is the biggest of some two dozen different species. Albatrosses use their formidable wingspans to ride the ocean winds and sometimes to glide for hours without rest or even a flap of their wings. They also float on the sea's surface, though the position makes them vulnerable to aquatic predators. Albatrosses drink salt water, as do some other sea birds.
These long-lived birds have reached a documented 50 years of age. They are rarely seen on land and gather only to breed, at which time they form large colonies on remote islands. Mating pairs produce a single