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Hundreds flock to see rare albatross in East Yorkshire

Albatross in flight Image copyright Kevin Groocock
Image caption The black-browed albatross has been seen off Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire

A black-browed albatross has been spotted on the East Yorkshire coast, thousands of miles away from its usual home.

News of the rare arrival prompted hundreds of birdwatchers to travel to Flamborough Head in the hope of catching a glimpse.

The endangered birds are normally only found in the southern hemisphere.

Keith Clarkson, from the RSPB's Bempton Cliffs Reserve, said he was not sure how it had got to the Yorkshire coast.

"By now it should be on the Falkland Islands, breeding," he said.

"Occasionally, these birds get it completely wrong and go 180 degrees in the wrong direction and end up in the northern hemisphere."

Mr Clarkson said there was a possibility that the bird could remain in the area and start nesting.

The most well-known sighting of a black-browed albatross in the UK is that of Albert who has been seen in the north of Scotland since the 1960s.

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Black-browed Albatross

Image copyright Kevin Groocock

Breeding pairs remaining in the world: 530,000

Where do they breed?: Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Chile with small numbers on sub-Antarctic Islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans

Wingspan: 210-250 cm

Length (beak to tail): 80-96 cm

Average lifespan: Up to 30 years

Diet: Feeds mainly on shrimp, fish and squid, and also on carrion and fishery discards

Scientific name: Thalassarche melanophrys

Threat level: Endangered

Source: RSPB


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