Albatross parents and chick

Image: Simone Jackson | ©

Introduction

Find out more about this year's royal albatross family and their predecessors.

The 2018/19 Royal Cam is currently trained on the nest of LGK and LGL and their female chick who hatched on 24 January 2019.

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 6 November and was the ninth egg out of the 51 eggs to be laid this season.

Read on for more information about New Zealand’s very own Royal family.

LGK, LGL and chick

South Plateau family.
South Plateau family (LGL sits on the chick with LGK beside)

Albatross band colours.
Albatross band colours: LGK and LGL

Male: LGK (lime/green/black bands)
Age: 10 years
Hatched: 2009
Breeding: since 2017

Female: LGL (lime/green/lime bands)
Age: 11 years
Hatched: 2008
Breeding: since 2017

Chick
Name: South Plateau chick
Hatched: 24 January 2019

GO, WO and Amīria

Albatross chick Amīria
Albatross chick Amīria

March 2018 - 7 September 2018

Male: GO (green/orange bands)
Female: WO (white/orange bands)

Milestones

Family history

The parents are eachother's second mates. GO's first mate was BOB (blue, orange, blue) and WO's was OBR (orange, blue, red).

GO and BOB's first surviving chick was a breech hatch and the observatory closed for 2 days to minimise disturbance as the chick was in extremely poor condition. This chick was famously named Fred (because his life was hanging on by a thread) and survived! He even fledged a chick last year so is away this season.

GO and WO's nest is about 20 m up the track from the 2016/17 webcam chick Tūmanako. They were seen nest building to the side of the camera view once Tūmanako had fledged.

The pair laid an egg at Top of Bluff Track on the 5 November 2017. Their egg died late in the incubation and they received a foster chick who had been deserted as an egg by her natal parents (GKY, male 11 yrs, and KBR, female 11 yrs). GO and WO's own egg was a late embryo death.

Albatross chick and parent
Albatross chick and parent YWK

YWK, KGY and chick

November 2017–February 2018

Male: YWK (yellow/white/black bands)
Female: KGY (black/green/yellow bands)

Milestones

Family history

BK, RBK and Tūmanako

Albatross chick Tumanoko
Albatross chick Tūmanoko after "spilling"

November 2016–March 2017

Male: BK (blue/black bands)
Female: RBK (red/blue/black bands)

Milestones

Family history

During a weigh in when Tūmanako was about two months old, he got quite agitated and as a defensive behaviour he 'spilled' on himelf. Spilling is a defence mechanism where the chick ejects a smelly, sticky substance called proventriculus oil when it feels threatened. The oil is what you can see on the chick's face.

When Tūmanako was just days old he became unwell and lost weight. Tūmanako was much smaller then the other chicks who hatched at the same time. So that our rangers could closely monitor the chick, he was moved to a foster nest closer to their office. Another chick was put in his place for BK and RBK to foster. When Tūmanako recovered he swapped places with his parents foster chick. The foster chick could not be placed with it's original parents as they deserted it when the chick was still in its egg.

YWK, KGY and Moana

Albatross chick Moana
Albatross chick Moana

November 2015–March 2016

Male: YWK (yellow/white/black bands)
Female: KGY (black/green/yellow bands)

Milestones

Family history

YWK first started breeding as an 8 year old. He had three attempts with one female – their first egg was infertile, on the second attempt the chick died, and finally on the third time they fledged a chick.

A year later he arrived back from sea with a leg injury, so he didn't breed that year and ended up separating from his first mate. After several years of displaying among the other unattached birds, he started breeding with his second mate five years later.

With his second mate, YWK had three nesting attempts, resulting in two chicks fledged. He separated from her and later began breeding with his current mate.

YWK is KGY's second mate. She started to breed at 8 years of age, but the death of her first mate meant that she too had to go through courtship displays again. She found YWK five years after the death of her first mate.

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