Animals -> Birds -> Seabirds -> Albatrosses


Short-tailed Albatrosses were commonly hunted in Hesquiat Harbor, located on the west side of Vancouver Island, and were reported to have been the most abundant bird eaten by the Kwakiutl (Kwakwaka'wakw) [1]. Harvested albatrosses, which may have also included the Laysan Albatross and the Black-footed Albatross, were usually fire-roasted or boiled by Southern Okanagan and Flathead [2, 3].


1.         Suttles W (ed.): Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 7: Northwest Coast. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution; 1990.

2.         Post RH: The Subsistence Quest. In: The Sinkaietk or Southern Okanagan of Washington. edn. Edited by Spier L. Menasha, Wisconsin, U. S. A.: George Banta Publishing Company Agent; 1938: 11-33.

3.         Hungry Wolf A: Charlo's People: The Flathead Tribe of Montana. Invermere, B.C.: Good Medicine Books; 1974.

Albatrosses represent a family of large, long-winged, soaring seabirds, closely related to fulmars. Albatrosses are larger than fulmars, with most species weighing several kilograms and having a wingspan close to 1 m. In albatrosses, nostrils are separated by the upper ridge of the bill, while in the fulmars, the left and right nostrils are merged into a single tube on top of the bill. Like most other seabirds, albatrosses feed exclusively at sea - squid is an important food source - and are colonial, land-based breeders that form long-lasting monogamous pairs [1]. North American species of albatross include the threatened Short-tailed Albatross (Phoebastria albatrus) [2], present along the Pacific coast and worldwide populations estimated at less than 2,000 birds, as well as the Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) [3] and the Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes [4] present across the North Pacific Ocean.


1.         Brooke M: Albatrosses and petrels across the world Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press; 2004.

2.         COSEWIC: COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Short-tailed Albatross Phoebastria albatrus in Canada. In. Ottawa: Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada; 2003: 25.

3.         Awkerman JA, Anderson DJ, Whittow GC: Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis). In: The Birds of North America Online. Edited by Poole A. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; 2009.

4.         Awkerman JA, Anderson DJ, Whittow GC: Black-footed Albatross (Phoebastria nigripes). In: The Birds of North America Online. Edited by Poole A. Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; 2008.


Distribution maps provided below, unless otherwise stated, were obtained from Birds of North America Online, maintained by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and all pictures provided below were obtained from Encyclopedia of Life
Short-tailed Albatross
Photographer: Clapp, Roger B.

This map is based on occurrence records available through the GBIF network

Laysan Albatross
© Caleb Slemmons
Supplier: Flickr: EOL Images
Photographer: Caleb Slemmons
Black-footed Albatross
© Jim Johnson
Creator: Jim Johnson