Using its expansive wings, the Antipodean albatross can glide for vast distances, expending very little energy as it searches for food. It feeds predominantly on dead squid found floating at the surface (5), and on fish (2). After fledging, the Antipodean albatross may spend up to five years at sea without ever touching land, and only really spends significant time ashore at about ten years old, when it is ready to start breeding (5).
Antipodean albatross reproduction is a complex and lengthy process, the elaborate courtship ritual alone may be performed over many successive breeding seasons before mating finally occurs. The most striking aspect of the courtship is the dance, which involves bowing, bill snapping, mutual preening, touching bills and head shaking. Both the male and female will engage in this dance, which is believed to help strengthen the bond between breeding pairs (9). Diomedea antipodensis antipodensis populations commence egg-laying on Antipodes Island around early January and on the Chatham Islands around February (10), while Diomedea antipodensis gibsoni on the Auckland Islands breeds in late December. Rearing the chicks takes about a year, with the parent birds spending the first three months ashore incubating the egg, and the remaining nine months making foraging trips out to sea and returning to feed the chick. Depending on specific populations’ breeding times, most chicks fledge and leave the nest between January and February (5). If breeding is successful, the adults will not breed in the following season, thereby producing just a single chick every two to three years (5).