Albatross: more attentive and caring with older partners.
Wandering albatrosses paired with elderly specimens reduces the duration of trips to the sea to look for food.
Albatrosses spend most of their lives in the open ocean, but when they decide to start a family, they return to their beloved partner. Life as a couple can last even more than 50 years. The female lays her only egg every two years and both parents incubate it. When one brood, the other makes long journeys in the open sea to look for food for the partner as well.
However, a new study from Liverpool says that wandering albatrosses who are paired with older partners are much more attentive and caring. In fact, they reduce the duration of sea trips to ensure that your partner goes less time without food. Scholars made this discovery by monitoring the outings of 71 pairs of wandering albatross. They nest in the cold waters of the southern Indian Ocean. Thanks to small devices installed on the birds’ legs, experts measured how much time each animal spent at sea.
Incubation of albatross eggs takes an average of 78 days. One of the two future parents goes into the sea to look for food and stays there for 12 days. A very long time for older individuals. Thus birds with older mates returned to the nest much earlier than those paired with younger specimens.
A very thoughtful and very romantic act, but there is also a much more important reason. The fact that keeping your partner alive and healthy is the only way to ensure that your children make it to adulthood. In short, in the end a selfish interest in the survival of the species. Furthermore, the albatross is at risk of extinction, in some species it has been estimated that their numbers are declining by as much as 5-10% every year.