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    de Grissac, Sophie Börger, Luca Guitteaud, Audrey and Weimerskirch, Henri 2016. Contrasting movement strategies among juvenile albatrosses and petrels. Scientific Reports, Vol. 6, p. 26103.

    Blanco, Gabriela S. and Quintana, Flavio 2014. Differential use of the Argentine shelf by wintering adults and juveniles southern giant petrels, Macronectes giganteus, from Patagonia. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Vol. 149, p. 151.

    Dias, Maria P. Granadeiro, José P. and Catry, Paulo 2013. Individual variability in the migratory path and stopovers of a long-distance pelagic migrant. Animal Behaviour, Vol. 86, Issue. 2, p. 359.

    Hazen, EL Maxwell, SM Bailey, H Bograd, SJ Hamann, M Gaspar, P Godley, BJ and Shillinger, GL 2012. Ontogeny in marine tagging and tracking science: technologies and data gaps. Marine Ecology Progress Series, Vol. 457, p. 221.

    Dias, M. P. Granadeiro, J. P. Phillips, R. A. Alonso, H. and Catry, P. 2011. Breaking the routine: individual Cory's shearwaters shift winter destinations between hemispheres and across ocean basins. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 278, Issue. 1713, p. 1786.

    Nevitt, G. A. Losekoot, M. and Weimerskirch, H. 2008. Evidence for olfactory search in wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 105, Issue. 12, p. 4576.

    2007. The Migration Ecology of Birds.


Albatross Long-Distance Navigation: Comparing Adults And Juveniles

  • Susanne Åkesson (a1) and Henri Weimerskirch (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2005

Albatrosses are known for their extreme navigation performance enabling them to locate isolated breeding islands after long-distance migrations across open seas. Little is known about the migration of young albatrosses and how they reach the adults' navigation and foraging skills during the period of immaturity lasting several years and spent permanently flying across the open ocean. We tracked by satellite telemetry the dispersal and migration of 13 juvenile wandering albatrosses from the Crozet Islands during their first year at sea. The young albatrosses covered an average distance of 184,000 km during the first year, restricting their dispersal movement to the unproductive and low wind subtropical Indian Ocean and Tasman Sea. The juveniles initiated the migration by an innate phase of rapid dispersal encoded as a fixed flight direction assisted by southerly winds towards north and northeast. Thereafter each individual restricted its movement to a particular zone of the ocean that will possibly be used until they start breeding 7–10 years later and return in contact with breeding adults. This dispersal in young birds corresponds well with movements observed for adult non-breeding wandering albatrosses. The results show clearly an inherited ability to navigate back to already visited areas in young wandering albatrosses. The juvenile dispersal behaviour and migration at sea suggest a genetically based migration program, encoding navigation to a destination area used throughout the life.

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This paper was first presented at RIN 05, the 5th quadrennial conference on Orientation and Navigation in Birds, Humans and other Animals which was held at the University of Reading between 6–8th April 2005.
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The Journal of Navigation
  • ISSN: 0373-4633
  • EISSN: 1469-7785
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-navigation
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