Avian flight II: albatross flight

Albatross spend most of their lives in flight. They forage in the open ocean, where food may be separated by many miles, and they head for islands only to breed. They have been documented making around-the-world trips in just 46 days (take that, Jules Verne!) and flying for weeks at an average speed of 950 km per day (Croxall et al. 2005). That’s 40 km per hour, so you could beat them in a car (if you could stay awake that long), but still!

I am awesome. Photo by Tony Schneider

I am awesome.
Photo by Tony Linde

How can an animal spend so much time in such fast flight? How do albatross not waste away and die from the sheer energetic effort?

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