Earliest known fledging age for a Northern Royal Albatross

Northern Royal Albatrosses Diomedea sanfordi breeding in the mainland colony at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head on New Zealand’s South Island are intensively managed, inter alia by daily nest checks that allow age at fledging to be known for this globally Endangered and Nationally Vulnerable species The following news item with information from Department of Conservation Ranger, Sharyn Broni gives an example of an “early bird” fledgling that left the breeding colony well below the species’ average age.

 Northern Royal Albatross GP chick Hayden Parsons

The young fledgling, photograph by Hayden Parsons

“The first chick of the season fledged on 27 August. The chick has also set a new record as the youngest chick to fledge in the colony’s’ history at only 217 days old. The previous record for youngest fledging was 219 days and the average is 240 days. We think he fledged so early because he had really regular feedings from his parents, meaning he was in good condition and at a good weight, and perfect fledging conditions on Sunday with strong winds blowing him straight out to the ocean.

This is one of 20 chicks who received a GLS tracker [click here], so when he returns, we can see exactly where he's been. Now we await the other 32 chicks to fledge, making this a record season for the highest number of chicks fledged - current record is 30 chicks in 2021.

Information from the Facebook page of The Royal Albatross Centre.  Read more on the Department of Conservation website.

31 August 2023

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