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15 Birds Similar to an Albatross

A beautiful albatross in flight.

To call the albatross, a large seabird is an apt description. However, it doesn’t do the bird justice. This bird can weigh as much as 28 pounds but averages between 12 and 26 pounds.

The bird can stand as tall as 4 feet and is one of the largest water birds with intense flight and a wingspan that can reach 11 feet wide. The albatross lives on the sea and flies with might, feeding largely on water animals. Although there are some great myths that the albatross is an evil and imposing bird, the truth is that the albatross has a gentler spirit, one noted in many tales of maritime fiction.

These birds with longevity can live to be 50 years old. The albatross will live on cliffs and moors near sea water and oceans, living in colonies. It spends most of its time soaring over the waters seeking out its prey.

The albatross is largely a white bird but can have darker colors on its wings, and it has a large and longer beak that helps it to locate and enjoy its prey. Learn more about the birds that are similar to the albatross here.

1. The petrel is a smaller but lively seabird that mimics the albatross’s soar

A young and adult cape petrel resting on rock.

The petrel is similar to the albatross in that it has an impressive wingspan that enables it to soar like an albatross, with a wingspan that ranges between five and seven feet. This is a bird with a lifespan of up to 20 years old. Their weight is between six and 11 pounds and can be up to three feet long.

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The petrel is a blue and gray bird with a forked tail and wings that look long and slim. Compared to the albatross, the petrel is smaller but flocks on water like the albatross. The petrel also enjoys finding food sources on land, but the albatross can find food in the sea or ocean.

The petrel can soar like the albatross but is known to skim the waves of the water it is dwelling on to find its sea prey.

2. The dalmatian pelican is a large and awkward bird that flies with strength

A portrait of Dalmatian pelican spreading wings.

The dalmatian pelican does not have the same grace and elegance that the albatross does in flight, but its size is comparable. The pelican is a bird that can reach as high as six feet and weigh up to 33 pounds. This bird is most commonly found in Europe and parts of Russia.

It is a sea bird that is more social than the albatross and enjoys living and dwelling in flocks and colonies. The pelican is a large bird that can weigh as much as 30 pounds and, like the albatross, has a wingspan that can reach 11 feet. The pelican can also be considered a social bird, but also prefers solitude on occasion.

This bird will mate for life and feed off the ocean or water prey that it is closest to at the time. It has a long lifespan, like the albatross, living on average approximately 35 years, but it can live as long as 55 years.

3. The mute swan, while pretty, is not as graceful as you might think

A mute white swan in water.

Folklore about the albatross or the swan has suggested that the albatross is an aggressive and bold bird while the swan is a dainty and delicate thing. The truth is that the swan is far more aggressive than the albatross and a little smaller in stature. The swan can be up to six feet tall and weighs an impressive 60 pounds.

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These birds are known to be graceful birds that can live up to 30 years old, but they have aggression that many don’t see too often. This is a bird that, when necessary, will stand up to its six feet in height and defend its location and its family. The beak and wing of the swan are fierce and strong.

The swan will hiss when it fears it is being attacked and will work to fight off its prey when it can. It is also not afraid to attack humans if it fears its location is threatened. The albatross is not as aggressive but is comparable in size and lifespan to the beautiful swan.

4. The marabou stork offers an impressive height and aggressive flight

A marabou stork face close-up.

Storks also have their place in folklore and legend; these stories tell us these birds are large and strong. Although none have ever delivered babies to human homes, they do have the body size and strength that could if that was necessary. Storks are very similar to the albatross that way when it comes to size and lifespan; however, they are not great fliers and are gliders of sorts when it comes to water behavior.

The stork is a bird standing as high as five feet tall. Its weight, however, is not as heavy as the albatross, but it can be as heavy as 17 pounds. Still, although it can not carry live babies, it is strong enough to prey on large birds such as hyenas or vultures and even feed on elephants.

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Like the albatross, the stork has an impressive wingspan that can reach 10 feet. Its flight is enhanced by its hollow legs and feet.

5. The emperor penguin lives by the sea but does not have the same flight in life as the albatross

An emperor penguin walking away from the sea ice.

The albatross is a large and heavy bird, and this is how it best compares to the emperor penguin. This is a tall and heavy bird, like the albatross, but the emperor penguin does not fly in the same manner that an albatross does. This penguin is large, can stand as high as four feet, and weighs up to 53 pounds.

The penguin also does not have the same lifespan as the albatross but can live up to 20 years or more in the right conditions. The conditions a penguin needs to enjoy its life are cooler temperatures near water. These conditions are conducive to breeding.

Penguins need the dark to lay and breed their eggs, and colder temperatures like those in Antarctica allow for that. In this breed, the females are the hunters and gatherers, while the males stay with the eggs to keep them warm before hatching.

6. The Andean condor is a large and territorial bird you don’t want to mess with

Andean condor perched on high ground.

The name condor says it all, and this is a vulture-like bird you don’t want to have a problem with. The result could be terribly injurious or even fatal. In this sense, this bird is very much like the albatross.

It has a wingspan of up to 10 feet and weighs up to 33 pounds. It also has the survival wit and strength to live as long as an albatross and can live for as long as 50 years. Where the condor differs is largely in its habitat.

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Although the condor occasionally likes its sea water and sea aggression, it is primarily a land bird. It likes the mountains and can be found in large populations in the Andes Mountains. When it is a water dweller, you will find it along the Pacific Coast in South America.

To many, it is considered the world’s largest flying bird, making it among the most deadly. It will eat anything smaller than itself and feeds on land prey such as small animals found in the mountains.

7. The strength and flight of the eagle is a bird whose reputation precedes itself

An eagle flying in the sky.

It isn’t just a myth that the eagle is a bird you don’t want to mess with. This is a massive bird, but not as large as the albatross. By comparison, the eagle could be described as a medium-sized bird to the albatross but is still just as impressive.

The reputation of the eagle is that it has the strength, wisdom, and courage to go after whatever it wants and prevail through almost any storm. Its behavior functions very much like the albatross that way. The eager has a weight reaching up to 20 pounds, and its wing span is just over half the size of the albatross at seven feet long.

There are many different species of eagles all over the world, and they enjoy a combination of land and water habitat. The eagle can prey on both land and water food and can fly faster than many cars can travel on the average road.

8. The sweet herring gull is a gentle but large bird that enjoys a quiet life

Three herring gulls on the grass.

The seagull is a common sea bird that compares to the albatross in terms of its behavior and lifestyle. Like the albatross, the herring gull or seagull is a sea bird, and many of its similarities end here. Still, the seagull looks like a small albatross and may even be confused for one with its darker wing tones on occasion.

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From a behavior perspective, the seagull is gentler and prefers to find dead food rather than aggressively pursue its meals. The seagull is approximately two to three feet in size and height, with a wing span of four feet. It also has a much shorter lifespan than the albatross at four years.

9. The snowy egret can be as fierce as an albatross but has serious concerns of extinction

A snowy egret standing on the rocks.

The snowy egret can be considered as fierce as the albatross’s strength and works for its prey. It has a longer lifespan than many birds, living up to 25 years old. Its wingspan is mighty like the albatross but slightly smaller at 7 feet, but is impressive in stature at over five feet tall.

The habitat of the egret is in the sea or on wetlands, where it prefers to hunt and enjoy water life for its meals. Like the albatross, there is something special about this bird, with its feathery plumage being used for high fashion in circles that will put a price on its feathers that outweighs the price of gold. This is putting the bird in danger.

10. The frigatebird is not an albatross but gets called that a lot

Frigatebird in the wild of Galapagos island.

The frigate bird is a magnificent bird often confused for an albatross, which it is not. They are not in the same species or near it, but it does offer the same impressive flight energy and strength as an albatross does. The frigate bird is smaller than the albatross, with an eight-foot wingspan, and can stand as high as five feet.

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Its lifespan isn’t as long, but it can live for up to 14 years or longer. Also, unlike the albatross is the offshore or land habitat of the frigate bird. It is large compared to most birds and stands as an impressive bird that most species do not want to mess with.

Although not as large as the albatross, its wingspan has a surface area said to be the largest of any bird in the world. It can be spotted from very far away.

11. The northern gannet is a small but deep-sea diver when it comes to seabirds

A group of northern gannet in the forest.

The northern gannet is another bird that is like the albatross in many ways but also much different in its own right in many others. It is a seabird, like an albatross, but it is also much smaller in stature. Still, when in flight, it can look like an albatross and feed off very similar animals.

The gannet weighs up to eight pounds at maturity and has a wingspan of up to 6.5 feet, which is just over half of the maximum wingspan of an albatross. In length, the gannet can be as large as four feet. Its lifespan is as long as 2 to 4 years in the wild but can be up to 10 years if held in captivity, such as at a zoo. This seabird is a diver when it comes to its prey and dives into the water as deep as 72 feet to catch its food.

12. The eastern willet is an independent bird with a small bill but a big voice

Eastern willet standing in a salt marsh.

You will probably know if you have eastern willets around you as their noise is distinctive. They are very similar to albatrosses in their love for sea life, but they would rather run than fly and scream when doing so. This is also a much smaller bird than the albatross, with a wingspan of two feet and a height of three feet.

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A lifespan of 10 years is a good life for the willet. The willet likes to eat sea products and has the instinct to be able to feed themselves right from their hatching, although their parents will help them out.

13. The marbled godwit is a smaller and pretty bird with seasonal homes

The marbled godwit is a small bird that gets its name from its pretty speckled coat. It is similar to the albatross in its sea love, but the godwit is only on the coastlines for the summer months. During the winter, the godwit prefers plains and prairies and will nest there, surviving on nuts and berries.

In the spring and summer, the godwit will fatten up with seafood. For a size comparison, the godwit is smaller than the albatross by a lot of weight and height and is 2 pounds in weight and approximately two feet in height. Its wingspan, however, can reach three feet, and it can live as old as 14.

14. The whooping crane sounds just like its name

Whooping crane at Aransas wildlife.

Like the albatross, the whooping crane is a large bird that weighs as much as 15 pounds. This bird has a wingspan of up to 7 feet, and sometimes more, and can be as high as five feet tall. Interestingly enough, the trachea of the whooping crane is almost as long, which is what lends to the whooping call of this very shrill bird with a lifespan of up to 30 years.

The call of this bird is very distinct and, as with every bird, has a distinct call, whether for mating or prey. Unlike other birds, this crane makes a distinct sound when singing with its mate.

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15. The osprey loves the water but can find its food almost anywhere

Sporty shot of an osprey in Southern Florida.

The osprey is an animal that weighs up to four pounds and is two feet in length and height, but its wingspan will surprise you. This is a bird that is very much like the albatross that way, with an impressive wingspan that reaches almost six feet for this bird’s stature. The osprey is classified as a raptor, and this bird’s predator-like style is similar in some ways to the albatross.

Also, like the albatross, this bird’s diet consists almost exclusively of fish and other seafood. The osprey is unmistakable if you live near water and is also known as the fish hawk, sea hawk, and river hawk. It is an impressive bird that won’t take no from much of its prey during its 20-year lifespan.