What is the world's oldest known wild bird?
The oldest recorded age for a bird in the wild is 70 years for a female Laysan albatross, or mōlī (Phoebastria immutabilis)), named Wisdom. She was first ringed in 1956 - conservatively aged then at five years old - at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the Pacific Ocean, and was observed there again on 29 November 2020. Incredibly, Wisdom is still producing offspring, with her latest chick hatching on 1 February 2021. She is estimated to have raised more than 35 chicks over her lifetime.
Laysan albatrosses spend much of their life on the wing out at sea, and normally live up to 40 years of age. They return to land to breed, on average every other year, around November.
The US ornithologist Chandler Robbins, who died in 2017 aged 98, first placed an aluminium band around Wisdom’s ankle in 1956. Forty-six years later, Robbins spotted Wisdom among thousands of birds near the same nesting area and attached a new band.
Albatrosses typically mate for life, but have been known to re-pair if a partner dies. The name of Wisdom's current mate, Akeakamai, is a Hawaiian word that means "a love of wisdom". They have been together since 2006 and for the last 14 years have returned to Midway Atoll annually to lay an egg and rear a chick.