I watched a BBC/National Geographic documentary on the Galapagos and I might have actually shed a tear when the Albatross meet to mate. It’s super romantic! They stay with the same partner their whole mating lives, meeting in the Galapagos each April, May, and June. The “men” typically arrive first and patiently await their female partners.
When choosing their life-long mates, the giant sea birds really spend their time finding that “perfect someone.” Courtship can involve hour-long dances several times a day, in which each pair faces each other and performs a set of synchronized behaviors such as — what looks like — sword fighting with their bills, making clackity noises by opening and closing their beaks quickly, prancing in place, and calling out to the sky. The dance, as with most courtship dances, is definitely a sight to see. I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t get a little chuckle out of the behavior.
Looking at all the wildlife the Galapagos has to offer, the Waved Albatross was not one that stood out to me. The vibrancy of the blue-footed boobies and bright red sally light-foot crabs grabbed my initial attention. But after watching this whole series on the islands, it was the Waved Albatross that stole my heart and I would give just about anything to see their mating ritual up close and personal.