One of a female pairing of albatrosses keeps a close eye on
a chick, hatched a fortnight ago, at the colony at Taiaroa
Head. Photo by Linda Robertson.
For the second year in a row, the albatross colony at
Taiaroa Head has two female birds raising a chick.
Last season, a female pairing brought international media
attention to the colony. Their chick successfully fledged
last September and they were due back next year.
Department of Conservation ranger Lyndon Perriman said this
year the two females were first-time breeders and they were
the fourth female-female pairing in the colony's history.
As happened last year, the egg the pair incubated was
fertilised by a male albatross but he was no longer in the
Female-female pairings were nothing new within bird
populations, Mr Perriman said.
A Hawaiian study of northern hemisphere albatrosses showed
about one third of pairs were female-female.
So far, it had been a "bumper" breeding season at Taiaroa
Head with 23 chicks surviving and one still hatching.
If all 24 survived, it would be the second-highest number of
chicks the colony had seen, Mr Perriman said.
Seven new pairs had bred this season, up from the usual one
or two, which was tied into the increased numbers of
albatross fledging about eight years ago.
"I hope this is going to become more of the norm."