Have you heard the term ‘albatross’? It means an unwanted burden in English. Did you know the term is coined after a giant seabird of the same name?

An albatross is the largest seabird in the world. It has an incredible wingspan that can reach up to 3.35 metres – the longest of any bird. This graceful sentinel of the sky spends most of its life soaring high above the oceans in the southern hemisphere. An albatross lives most of its life out in the open Oceans and may touch land after 5 or 6 years only for the purpose of breeding!

While at sea, they eat krill, fish and rubbish from shipping vessels and sometimes follow ships for many days eating from its discarded waste.

It is this habit that caused it to be immortalized in ST Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. Here a sailor shoots an albatross that follows his ship and dooms the crew with bad luck. He is forced to wear the dead albatross around his neck as punishment by the rest of the crew. Hence, an albatross around the neck signifies great problem.

The albatross is probably the most loyal bird in the world. It mates for life and its ‘divorce rate’ is zero! If its mate dies it will not search for another partner. It also has an extremely low reproductive rate, laying just one egg in a year or two!

Picture Credit : Google 

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