Antarctic Science

Papers—Life Sciences and Oceanography

Diving behaviour of the grey-headed albatross

N. Huin a1 and P.A. Prince a1c1
a1 British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK

Article author query
huin n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
prince p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Foraging grey-headed albatrosses spent 86% of the night but only 20% of the day sitting on the sea; most diving activity occurred during daylight. During the broad-guard period of nesting, peaks of diving activity occurred at midday and dusk. During the subsequent chick-rearing period, however, diving was mainly at dawn and dusk. Of 485 dives measured, the depth averaged 0.74 m, with maximum depth at 6.5 m. On average grey-headed albatrosses dived 24 times during a five day foraging trip. Dive depths increased towards midday, probably as a function of the birds' visual acuity rather than due to vertical migration of their prey. We estimate that grey-headed albatrosses may obtain 30–45% of their daily food requirements by diving.

(Received October 8 1996)
(Accepted April 25 1997)

Key Words: Diomedea chrysostoma; diving; foraging behaviour; Scotia Sea; South Georgia.

c1 Corresponding author, e-mail: