Gay Albatrosses Find Lifelong Partnership In David Attenborough Documentary
The BBC’s Frozen Planet II captured a pair of young male albatrosses finding romance in their latest series, with commentary by David Attenborough.
The docuseries broadcasted the mating habits of the Antipodean wandering albatross that had taken place on Antipodes Island. The Antipodes is an uninhabited volcanic island and is one of the few places in the world that have endemic species of parakeets and penguins that exist alongside elephant seals, giant petrels and wandering albatrosses.
Travelling To Coastal Islands For Breeding Season
Narrated by David Attenborough, the historian explained the mating habits of the birds which involved landing on coastal islands to find mates in time for breeding season.
One 14-year-old male wandering albatross was ready to mate and had found a female candidate, who he tried to impress through the mating ritual of strutting and dancing. However, other male albatrosses join, and she leaves, with Attenborough commenting, “it seems that this is not going to be his year.”
The English broadcaster explains that there had been a sharp decline in the number of female albatrosses as their feeding spot up north has been inundated with fishing fleets which hunt them.
The male albatross is filmed finding another potential mate who is male and continues the mating ritual too. “Regardless, he continues to demonstrate his eligibility. This could still be the one with whom he will share the rest of his life,” Attenborough said.
Same-Sex Partnerships Are Common
It has become increasingly common for same-sex partnerships between wandering albatrosses to occur on the Antipodean islands, with male albatrosses outnumbering female albatrosses at 3:1 ratio.
“A same-sex partnership like this may bring no survival advantage, but is apparently preferable to a life alone,” Attenborough added.
Social media users took to Twitter to exclaim their joy at finding out the same-sex mating of the two male albatrosses, with one Frozen Planet II viewer, @Wandoful posting, “Didn’t think I’d have tears in my eyes over two gay albatross’s this weekend but here we are.”
— Peter (@peterpea) October 2, 2022
Same-sex mating and parenting in the wild are common for various species, especially in birds including swans, penguins, vultures and flamingos.
According to IFL Science, same-sex behaviour is exhibited by at least 1,500 species in the wild.
Twitter user @sarumbear praised Attenborough for shedding light on the same-sex pairing of the wandering albatross, posting, “It’s great to see Sir Attenborough show the very common occurrence of gay relationships among #albatross and say it’s the way nature intended.”
— Riz (@sarumbear) October 2, 2022
Wandering albatross are known to have long-term relationships, and this same-sex couple may become a lifelong pairing.
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