Black-footed albatrosses, like most of their species, mate for life. Males are the first to arrive at the breeding grounds in October, and re-claim their nest site which they and their partner might have used for many years. Once the females arrive three weeks later, mating takes place and the birds perform a ritual, re-establishing the pair bond (2).
Both birds work to rebuild the nest and take turns to incubate their single egg. If the egg is predated or lost to other natural causes, the birds will not attempt to breed again until the following year. Once the chick hatches, both parents brood it in turn, taking turns to procure food for the youngster. Albatross chicks stay in the nest for a long time; six months in the case of the black-footed, and it may wander away from the nest site when it reaches two or three months old (2).
Black-footed albatross feed mainly on squid, fish and crustaceans, but they also take floating offal and carrion (4). The birds are mostly active at night and early in the morning. The spend most of the day sitting on the surface of the ocean in groups (2).