The albatross (a tropical bird) spends years flying. Albatrosses, of the biological family Diomedeidae, are large seabirds. They range widely in the Southern Ocean and the North Pacific. They are absent from the North Atlantic, although fossil remains show they once occurred there and occasional vagrants are found. Albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses (genus Diomedea) have the largest wingspans of any extant birds, reaching up to 12 feet.