LIVE WEBCAM - NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS NESTING
- Current time in Dunedin
- Location: Pukekura/Taiaroa Head, South Island, New Zealand
- Source: Department of Conservation
- Info: Live streaming webcam featuring a Northern Royal Albatross. The webcam is located at a nesting site on the southeast tip of New Zealand's South Island. This season shows LGK, LGL and their female chick, Tiaki, who hatched on the 24 January 2021.
The nesting area of the Northern Royal Albatross on the headland at Taiaroa Head on the Otago Pensinsula is a sheltered area where summer ground temperatures can reach up to 50 degrees celsius. These conditions are not ideal for a genus that is far suited to subantarctic conditions, but it is the place that they chose.
In earlier times both adults albatrosses and chicks could die from heat exhaustion. There is now a sprinkler system that on hot days sprays water over the nest to cool the bird. Also, staff put a cottonwool ball soaked in peppermint essence in the nest to reduce the risk of fly strike to the egg and chick. Predator traps for feral cats and mustelids are used for what is probably the longest running predator control programme in New Zealand.
There are two species of royal albatross, southern and northern. The southern albatross is slightly larger than the northern. At sea it can be distinguished from the northern by its white upper wings with black edges and tips, whereas the upper wings of the northern are completely black.
The northern royal albatross only returns to land to breed and raise their young – one chick every two years. Royal albatross usually mate for life at the same nesting area each time. Males arrive at the nesting site first to prepare the nest.
Parents share incubation duty in spells of two days to three weeks (eight days on average) over a period of about 11 weeks – one of the longest incubation periods of any bird. After making a hole in the tough shell, chicks take about three to six days to finally emerge from the egg.
Royal albatrosses are some of the longest-lived birds in the world, regularly living into their 40s.