Albatrosses have unique courtship behavior. They groan, scrape their bills, and dance about awkwardly, before pairing and mating occurs. They are colonial breeders, the female laying her single white egg in crude nests on the ground. Both sexes incubate the egg; incubation takes from two to three months. Albatrosses have few natural enemies, with the exception of humans. They were slaughtered for their feathers and wings in the 19th cent., and used in millinery and as
swansdown pillow stuffings.
Albatrosses are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Procellariiformes, family Diomedeidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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