The web cam chick needs a name
Image: Ashleigh Compton | DOC

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


For the second year running we're inviting people to help name the internet’s most famous albatross chick.

Date:  23 May 2017

The online naming competition, launched today, will especially appeal to the many thousands of fans who have followed the chick's journey since hatching in January. The competition provides a unique opportunity to both name and meet the popular bird.

Tens of thousands of people throughout the world have been watching the northern royal albatross/toroa chick at the albatross colony at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head on Otago Peninsula. The web cam (nicknamed 'royal cam') has received over one and a half million views since going live in 2016.

DOC's Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki says "It's a way to thank the dedicated fans online who have contributed to the success of the cam by asking questions, posting their own photos and keeping an eye on the chick. It is also a fun way to promote royal cam, by encouraging anyone who wants, to enter the naming competition."

"As the success of royal cam has shown, albatross are highly charismatic and remarkable birds. In choosing a name, people should consider ideas suitable for both genders that celebrate this species, this special location or reflect this chick's characteristics," Nicola said.

"Unlike Moana—last year's clean, preened webcam natural—this year's chick has given us some ups and downs since it was taken into intensive care just days after hatching. Keen on a sleep in, a tad on the grumpy side, sometimes a little unkempt and defiantly keeping us all guessing as to its weight and gender—but winning everyone's hearts none-the-less."

The Royal Albatross Colony is the only place in the world to see northern royal albatross breeding on a mainland site. There are more than 150,000 visitors a year to this protected area.

DOC manages the northern royal albatross colony with the support of the Otago Peninsula Trust, Te Poāri a Pukekura (Pukekura Co-management Trust) and Dunedin City Council.

The colony has benefited from decades of DOC's management and predator control. It has grown from one breeding pair in 1937 to over 60 pairs in 2017. 10,000 seabirds are also thriving at Taiaroa Head, including threatened species like red-billed gulls and Otago shags.

Otago Peninsula Trust's Manager of Operations Taiaroa Head, Hoani Langsbury affirms the importance of the webcam chick's popularity to albatross conservation.

"We've many thousands of fans who've become very involved and supportive of our work through connecting with the lives of the online albatross stars. Having the chance to name and visit the chick that many have fallen in love with, is a wonderful opportunity."

People have until Friday 2 June 2017 to submit ideas. Te Poāri a Pukekura will choose the top five names and the final winning name will be decided by public vote and announced on 20 June. The competition is also open to people off shore though the winner would need to pay their own way to New Zealand to participate in the prize.

"And it is a brilliant prize thanks to Air New Zealand for flights for two to Otago, the Otago Peninsula Trust who will host the lucky couple on their visit to meet the chick and Larnach Castle who will accommodate the winners in royal style. It also includes visits to view blue penguins, Fletcher House and Glenfalloch Gardens," says Nicola Toki.

To enter visit


For media enquiries only contact:

Lizzy Sutcliffe, DOC Communications Advisor
Phone: +64 3 363 1660
Mobile: +64 27 886 3507

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