Photo: Bernard Spragg, Royal Albatross
This the fifth season the Department of Conversation has a webcam beside an albatross nest in the colony on Otago Peninsula.
Royalcam features highlights and a forum for questions. Department of Conservation staff are present daily, monitoring this nest and others found on Taiaroa Head/Pukekura.
The 2019/20 season nest is Top Flat Track. OGK (21 year old male) and YRK (25 year old female) are incubating a fertile egg laid on 14 November 2019.
Royal Cam is a 24-hour live stream of an albatross nest during the breeding season.
Partnership with Cornell
The 2018/19 Royal Cam is currently trained on the nest of LGK and LGL and their fertile egg. These two northern royal albatross have been together since 2017, this is their second breeding attempt. Last season their egg was an early dead embryo. Their current nest is at South Plateau which is higher up the hill than previous seasons and directly across from the observatory towards the Signal Station. The egg was laid on November 6 and was the ninth egg out of the 51 eggs to be laid this season.
About the bird
The northern royal albatross is a huge white albatross with black upperwings. It usually mates for life and breeds only in New Zealand. Biennial breeding takes place primarily on The Sisters and The Forty-Fours Islands in the Chatham Islands. There is also a tiny colony at Taiaroa Head near Dunedin on the mainland of New Zealand, which is a major tourist attraction.
Northern royal albatross or toroa, have been nesting at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head since 1938, and the colony now has more than 100 individual birds. They are one of the largest seabirds, with a wingspan of three meters!
Fun Fact: The Northern Royal Albatross was first described as Diomedea sanfordi by ornithologist Robert Cushman Murphy more than 100 years ago.
In 2018 the northern royal albatross pair YWK and KGY cared for an egg that was laid on November 7, 2017 and hatched on January 22, 2018. On February 18, the albatross chick died after it was attacked by its mother. Said DOC: “This is an unusual incident for the colony and the behavior is not common.”