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Northern Royal Albatross

Northern royal albatross (Diomedea sanfordi)

Northern Royal Albatross
Ninety nine percent of the world’s population breed on the Chatham Islands, with the world’s only mainland breeding colony being a small colony at Taiaroa Head, near Dunedin, with about 25 breeding pairs. World population of 6,500-7,000 breeding pairs.The northern royal albatross were traditionally harvested by the Moriori and then the Maori.The large flight feathers of the larger albatrosses were collected by Maori for ceremonial purposes and were highly prized. One bird banded at the Taiaroa Head colony was known as Grandma and lived to 61 years of age.

Single birds seen throughout the year off the Kaikoura Coast. Most of the birds sighted originate from the Chatham Islands rather than from Taiaroa Head, although a few banded birds from Taiaroa Head are seen in Kaikoura on an infrequent basis.