The grey-headed albatross breeds on sub-Antarctic islands along with black-browed albatross (6). The main populations are in the South Atlantic Sector of the Southern Ocean (3), but there are colonies in Diego Ramirez and Islas Ildefonso south of Chile, South Georgia in the South Atlantic, Prince Edward, Crozet and Kerguelen groups in the South Indian Ocean, Macquarie Island south of Australia, and Campbell Island south of New Zealand (5). Found in colder waters during the summer, this species moves northward into the subtropics during the southern winter. These birds have been recorded to circumnavigate the globe, sometimes twice, when they are not breeding (7).
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