The wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) circumnavigates the globe in the southern sub-Antarctic latitudes.

This was described in a 2005 article Global Circumnavigations: Tracking Year-Round Ranges Of Non-breeding Albatrosses, in the journal Science following a study led by Professor John Croxall, head of conservation biology for the British Antarctic Survey.

The team tracked the precise movements of 22 birds and showed 12 had made global circumnavigations — three birds circled the Earth twice. The fastest managed a distance of 14,000 miles in 46 days — the equivalent of a steady 13 mph.

Scientists have long queried how the wandering albatross soars for as long and as far as it does over open water, without help from thermal updraughts.

It's no accident that the bird dwells in exceptionally windy places, the far southern latitudes known as the Roaring Forties and the Furious Fifties.

The wind helps this large bird, which can weigh up to 26lb and have a wingspan of 11ft 6in, to get airborne.

It flies long distances using a technique called dynamic soaring that expends minimal energy.

Once in the air, there's a windward climb, then a curve from windward to leeward at peak altitude, followed by a leeward descent and finally a reverse turn close to the surface of the sea that leads seamlessly into the next cycle of flight.

Found in the Daily Mail's "Answer to Correspondents" column, Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, contributed by Dr Ken Warren of Glasgow.