Back to the Albatrosses, we continue with what many birders consider to be the most pretty of albatrosses: the Light-mantled Albatross, or Light-mantled Sooty Albatross as the name used to be. When you have a good look, it’s clear to see why they say so. With a wingspan of ‘only’ little over 2 meters, it’s one of the smaller albatrosses, but the thin white line behind the eye and over the bill easily make up for that. Overall it has a dark plumage, with a lighter rump (hence the name). It can only really be mistaken for a Sooty Albatross, but the latter has a more northern distribution and is lacking the lighter rump.
Light-mantled Albatrosses breed in loose colonies on grassy slopes of subantarctic islands, like South Georgia. Like the large albatrosses, they breed once every two years. They start with a gorgeous display behaviour where the couple flies synchronously next to each other. After this, they start breeding.
Light-mantled Albatrosses are less keen in following ships, so there is one nearby, you have to be quick. Sometimes you get lucky and find a few that like to hang around. I remember a staff meeting being postponed because several guides were standing on the back deck photographing these beauties.