Oldest wild bird
Wisdom, the Laysan albatross
71 year(s)
United States (Midway Atoll)

The oldest recorded age for a bird in the wild is at least 71 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 has returned most years since, most recently spotted there on 24 November 2022. Wisdom is estimated to have laid around 40 eggs and raised at least 30 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 (#Z333) 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. Wisdom's most recent mate, Akeakamai, had been her partner since 2006, but he did not make an appearance in 2021 or 2022. In March 2023, one of Wisdom's grown-up male offspring (N333) was seen roosting an egg, which went on to hatch; this is her second recorded "grand-chick"; another in the previous breeding season was sadly found to have died in May 2022.