Laysan Albatross Females Pair Up to Raise Chicks

KAENA POINT (KHNL) -- Hidden secrets into the private lives of the Laysan albatross. Researchers recently discovered something unusual about the way a new colony of albatross are raising chicks at Kaena Point.

About a third of the immigrants from other colonies are female. This translates to 1 and a half females to every male.

Since it takes two birds to raise a chick, the females, still wanting to reproduce are left with few options.

"The option they have is to pair up with another female and kind of sneak in with a paired male on the side and then take turns with that female over who actually gets to raise the chick every year," said Lindsay Young, a zoology doctoral candidate at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

This unusual behavior is also happening at a nesting ground on Kauai.

Researchers found that one couple had been together for 19-years.

Lindsay Young's findings on same sex pairing in Laysan albatross were published in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters.

Photo credit: Dr. Eric VanderWerf of Pacific Rim Conservation