Europe’s only albatross has returned to Yorkshire. Nicknamed Albie, the albatross is believed to have lived in the northern hemisphere since 2014.
The black-browed albatross, or any kind of albatross, is not commonly found in Europe, and it is thought that Albie was blown off course and has been left unable to return to his breeding grounds.
As a result, he will be not be able to find a mate and has been dubbed the ‘world’s loneliest bird’ as a consequence. Albatrosses are known for being socially monogamous, meaning the birds pair for life and can sometimes stay together for the entirety of their 70-year life spans.
— Steve Atkinson (@atkinson_steve) April 6, 2022
Equatorial winds make it unlikely that Albie will ever return to albatross breeding grounds in the Falklands and South Georgia.
Albie the albatross was regularly seen at RSPB’s Bempton Cliff nature reserve last summer and has now returned to the spot after a hiatus. Celebrity bird-watchers who have come to see him include Bill Oddie, and All Creatures Great and Small actor Samuel West.
— Tim Smith (@PabloPicasso_) April 3, 2022
He has also been spotted across the North Sea in Germany and in Scandinavia where he spends the winter.
Albie is a black-browed albatross, which is a medium-sized albatross that has a wingspan of 200-240 cm. Until 2013, the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified the species as endangered but it is now a bit of a success story.
Black-browed albatrosses are one of the only albatross species not currently listed as threatened and their global population is increasing, according to the RSPB.
However, they are still at risk from threats such as being caught in commercial fishing gear.