[MARMAM] Albatross association with killer whale

William Rossiter rossiter at csiwhalesalive.org
Mon Oct 12 05:17:07 PDT 2009


 From the Eye of the Albatrosses: A Bird-Borne Camera Shows an 
Association between Albatrosses and a Killer Whale in the Southern Ocean

Kentaro Q. Sakamoto1, Akinori Takahashi2*, Takashi Iwata2, Philip N. 

1 Graduate School of Veterinary Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, 
Japan, 2 Department of Polar Science, The Graduate University for 
Advanced Studies, National Institute of Polar Research, Tachikawa, 
Tokyo, Japan, 3 British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research 
Council, High Cross, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Abstract Top

Albatrosses fly many hundreds of kilometers across the open ocean to 
find and feed upon their prey. Despite the growing number of studies 
concerning their foraging behaviour, relatively little is known about 
how albatrosses actually locate their prey. Here, we present our results 
from the first deployments of a combined animal-borne camera and depth 
data logger on free-ranging black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche 
melanophrys). The still images recorded from these cameras showed that 
some albatrosses actively followed a killer whale (Orcinus orca), 
possibly to feed on food scraps left by this diving predator. The camera 
images together with the depth profiles showed that the birds dived only 
occasionally, but that they actively dived when other birds or the 
killer whale were present. This association with diving predators or 
other birds may partially explain how albatrosses find their prey more 
efficiently in the apparently ‘featureless’ ocean, with a minimal 
requirement for energetically costly diving or landing activities.

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