Researchers had wondered how certain deep water prey had turned up in the diets of Black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melanophrys) - surmising that they had found these species in association with commercial fisheries.
[Photo caption: An iceberg photographed from the back of an albatross]
Now scientists report in the journal PLoS ONE that miniaturised cameras attached to the back of the birds have revealed the birds fly in groups and forage with killer whales.
"We went through thousands of images manually, we were so bored because most of images showed just 'featureless' ocean," says Professor Akinori Takahashi from the National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan.
"Then we suddenly saw some albatrosses flying in front of the camera bird and then found the killer whale in the image."
"Finding the interaction of albatrosses with killer whales in the open ocean is unique, because it provides a clue to explain [how] some fish species unavailable within a diving range of albatrosses often appeared in their diet," he explains.