Multi-tasking Birds

Two female royal albatrosses at Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Centre on the Otago Peninsula have successfully incubated a chick, after the father — one of scores to recently leave the Centre — disappeared. “It’s quite unusual in the albatross population here at Taiaroa Head to have two females mating together,” Lyndon Perriman, the colony’s head ranger, told Television New Zealand. “Even more unusual than that is that the egg is actually fertile this season.” While homosexuality is well documented in the animal kingdom, including among seabirds, Taiaroa Head — the only mainland albatross breeding colony in the world — has recorded only two previous instances of females setting up a nest together in the past 70 years. There are about 140 royal albatrosses on the colony with wingspans of nearly 10 feet. This season 17 chicks have hatched from 17 fertile eggs, a rare 100 per cent success rate.

Tags: Independent (The)  Lyndon Perriman  Otago Peninsula  Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Centre  Television New Zealand