I've never heard of a bird besides the Albatross which is able to use "Dynamic Soaring". Am I able to draw any conclusions out of this behavior? Like, can I say "it's definitely an Albatross" or "it's definitely a sea-bird" if I watch a bird dynamically soaring?

Dynamic Soaring:

Dynamic soaring is a flying technique used to gain energy by repeatedly crossing the boundary between air masses of significantly different velocity.


These tubes allow the albatrosses to measure the exact airspeed in flight; the nostrils are analogous to the pitot tubes in modern aircraft. The albatross needs accurate airspeed measurement in order to perform dynamic soaring.

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    I think the answer here may simply be 'yes' from a quick google both Albatross and Shearwaters dynamically soar
    – Aravona
    Commented Dec 1, 2015 at 12:37
  • There was an article in the Washington Post today (Dec 01, 2015, page A3) about a female albatross, named Wisdom, who was tagged on Midway (furthermost west island in the Hawaiian Islands chain) in 1956 (repeat 1956). She has returned to the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, and, at the age of 64, is about to lay an egg. Estimate -- she has flown 3 million miles in her lifetime.
    – ab2
    Commented Dec 2, 2015 at 3:52

1 Answer 1


Yes, you can use dynamically soaring as one variable in attempting identification, in addition to size, wing, body, beak, feet, etc. (all the usual ways of narrowing down your bird). But you can't just say "that's an albatross": the 4 families of order Procellariiformes consist of albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters, storm petrels, and diving petrels. They vary significantly in size, color pattern and shape.

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