Royal albatross-Diomedea epomophora sanfordi - animals.worldmy.info

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Royal albatross-Diomedea epomophora sanfordi

Birds > Group of birds > Albatrosses
Northern royal albatross (Diomedea epomophora sanfordi)
Royal albatross

TAXONOMY
Diomedea epomophora sanfordi
Murphy, 1917, Chatham Islands.
OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Toroa; French: Albatros royal; German: Königsalbatros; Spanish: Albatros Real.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Wingspan 8.85–10.0 ft (270–305 cm); 13.75–18.1 lb (6.25–8.2
kg); length: c. 45 in (115 cm). Large white bodied albatross with upper wing surface black. Eyelids black, spotted white in oldest birds.
DISTRIBUTION

Breeds only on New Zealand South Island (Taiaroa Head),
Chatham Islands (Sisters and Forty-Fours Islands), and Enderby Island. The only albatross to have a circumpolar range when not breeding.
HABITAT

Marine, breeding on exposed tops of small islets or headlands.
BEHAVIOR

Extensive repertoire of mutual and group displays at the breeding site, some of which are occasionally performed in the air or
on the water. Once pair bond is formed the most extravagantly spread wing displays are not used.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Most food taken by surface seizing. Mainly cephalopods, with
some fish, salps, and crustaceans. During the breeding season, feeding occurs over continental shelf breaks within 620 mi (1,000 km) of the colony. Probably an opportunistic feeder when migrating.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Lays one egg 27 October to 8 December with laying time fixed according to parentage. Nest a raised bowl of soil and vegetation rebuilt after each nesting attempt. Will also lay on bare rock with rock chips, but egg failures then are greater than 90%. On average, incubation is 79 days and fledging 240 days. Biennial breeder if successful. Monogamous, pairing usually for life. Breeding starts at 8 years and the average age of the breeding population is 20 years. Adult annual mortality is 4–5%.

Royal albatross breeding

CONSERVATION STATUS

Endangered. Total population c. 7,700 pairs, restricted to a tiny breeding range; the habitat supporting 99% of the population in Chatham Islands was severely degraded by storms in the 1980s. The resulting reduced productivity suggests a predicted 50% decline will occur over three generations unless the habitat improves significantly.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

At Taiaroa Head the efforts of L.E. Richdale enabled protection of the fledgling colony by 1950. Public viewing started in 1972, and by 2001 more than 100,000 persons annually viewed the nesting colony.

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