Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds related to the procellariids, storm petrels, and diving petrels in the order Procellariiformes (the tubenoses). They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there and occasional vagrants are found. Albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and species of the genus Diomedea (great albatrosses) have the longest wingspans of any extant birds, reaching up to 3. 7 m (12 ft). The albatrosses are usually regarded as falling into four genera, but disagreement exists over the number of species. Albatrosses are the most efficient travelers of all vertebrates on the planet. They expend very little energy soaring hundreds of miles over the ocean each day using dynamic soaring and slope soaring. They have a tendon in each shoulder locking their wings extended fully, so once aloft and soaring across a fair breeze, they never need to flap their wings. Like some vultures, they hunt by smell, sensitive to the odor of carrion and other biological processes. They feed on squid, fish, and krill by either scavenging, surface seizing, or diving.
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