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The Amazing Courtship of the Waved Albatross

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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 2
Location: ecuador

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 6:31 pm    Post subject: The Amazing Courtship of the Waved Albatross Reply with quote

The first report of Albatros sighting in 2005 was this past March 28th. In Galápagos, the arrival of the islands’ largest bird is more than just an
arrival. It is in fact, about the start of many other natural events. For instance, the arrival of albatrosses tells us that the southeast trade
winds are on their way, and thus the beginning of the dry season is just around the corner.

This also means that the hot season is officially ending, and that the islands will turn arid in just about 2 more weeks or so. Thus, we conclude
that Galápagos is a world of perpetual change. If there’s one event that can be labelled impressive, attractive and even comical at times, it must be the courtship ritual of the waved albatross. Such courtship is more than just a mere reproductive prelude. It is, without a doubt, one of the most important attractions in Galápagos wildlife, and it only occurs in the months of April, May and June. Finding a mate on Española (Hood) Island is no easy task; the terrain is quite irregular and there’s plenty of dry brush from the previous hot season.

Nevertheless, male albatrosses manage to arrive first, and patiently wait for females to arrive. Once together, courtship is an elaborate set of cues given by one individual and followed by the other potential mate.

This orchestrated set of moves is then repeated, but in reverse by the former mate. A series of strange noises that may resemble geese and a set of horn-like sounds can be heard all over the island. Part of the courtship even includes some “bill fencing” (very attractive yellow bills by the way), ending with a superb sky point and a sheer drop of the neck and head towards the back of the wing.

Here, some preening of the primary feather of the wing takes place, and it is all back to where they started. The complete set can last as long as 45 minutes. In our week-long expeditions, the M/V Santa Cruz and the Yacht Isabela II include Española Island, and the nesting colony of the waved albatross.

Also, the Friday-Monday expedition of the M/V Santa Cruz will make a regular stop at this unique location.

The articles developed for Metropolitan Touring for their newsletter are wrote by a team of travelers, field guides, operations people and marketing and sales inside the company, all of them has more than 10 years working in the Galapagos cruise and tours guiding and sales, Sylvia Moncayo, Francisco Dousdebés, Santiago Tamayo, Gonzalo
Alvarez are the team who produce our articles, Email info@metropolitan-spam Article Copyright Metropolitan Touring Corporation 2005 - 2006
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