Birds of Kīlauea Point
Laysan Albatross /Phoebastria immutabilis / Moli
Primarily nocturnal feeders. Moli are surface feeders, seizing prey with a hooked bill. Feed on anything that floats on the surface of the water; squid, fish, crustaceans and flying fish eggs. Inadvertently consume floating plastic.
Moli usually stay at least 20 to 30 kilometers offshore during the nonbreeding months (July - October). During these months Moli are distributed throughout the northwestern and northeastern range of the Pacific.
Monogamous. If one of the mates should die, they will most likely create a new pair bond. Nests are made up of surrounding grasses, dirt, or shrubbery and are piled into large mounds that form a nest cup. Laying begins in mid-November. One egg is laid and incubation lasts about 63 days. Incubation starts with the female who usually stays for a short two-day span. The male then takes over for as long as three weeks. During the month of December the number of incubating males outnumber that of incubating females 15:1. If the egg is infertile or breaks during incubation, re-laying will not occur.
Chicks hatch during at the end of January into the beginning of February. Chicks live off a diet of flying fish eggs and squid oil, a product that is rich in fat. Both parents will feed the chick by regurgitation and will often leave them for several days while they obtain food out at sea. The rich squid and stomach oil is filled with fatty acids and nutrients that can sustain a chick for the number of days between feedings. Parents feed the chick until a few weeks before the chick fledges. Fledging occurs 5-6 months after hatching (mid-June through late July).
Sub-adults return to their natal nesting colony after spending 3 - 5 years at sea. Elaborate courtship dances take place throughout the colony while these young birds search for a mate. Mating and first nesting usually occurs by age 6-8 years.