Photo 80002, (c) Anita, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-SA)

Attribution © Anita
Cc by nc sa small some rights reserved
Uploaded by anita363 anita363
Source Flickr
Associated observations

Photos / Sounds



Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora




December 15, 2006 06:05 PM EST


Otago, NZ (Google, OSM)


The tip of the Otago Peninsula (off Dunedin) hosts the only mainland nesting colony of the threatened Royal Albatross. These tremendous birds have up to a 3-meter (yes, >9 ft) wingspan. The colony itself is accessible only via guided tour from the Royal Albatross Centre , although you can see birds on the wing without taking the tour. This photo was taken thru the smoked-glass window of the observation blind built by the Centre, and has been color-corrected to compensate. This year there were ~half a dozen nesting pairs, plus the 'singles scene': unpaired birds soar and swoop above the colony at speeds up to 115 kph (70 mph), seeking the mate of their dreams. (Me, I've found mine now -- hence the honeymoon.) It's quite a sight (and not an easy shot)! They mate for life, not starting until ~age 15, and can live to over 60. A pair typically raises only 1 chick every 3 yrs: 11 wk to incubate the egg and 9 mo to raise the chick to fledging. Once the young bird takes off on its maiden flight, it will not touch dry land again for at least 2 years: it circumnavigates the Antarctic, feeding on the rich Southern Ocean. Its parents do likewise, and it probably takes them all 2 yrs to recover from the experience before they're ready to begin the cycle again!

This location also host the only nesting colony of the Otago Shag.

Member of the iNaturalist Network   |   Powered by iNaturalist open source software