Story: Albatrosses

Southern royal albatross

Southern royal albatross

Southern royal albatrosses are the largest albatrosses, with males weighing on average 10.3 kilograms and females 7.7 kilograms. Their wings are black and white, and their body is all white. Their upper bill has a distinctive black line along the cutting edge. Most breed on Campbell Island, on tussock slopes above the scrub line. Sheep and cattle roamed amongst their nests when the island was farmed, but stock has since been removed. Now, apart from skuas, the main disturbance is from New Zealand sea lions, which climb all over the island. Recently, sea lions have been observed preying on nesting royal albatrosses – this may be a new phenomenon.

Using this item

Department of Conservation
Reference: 10039206
Photograph by Don Merton

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How to cite this page:

Paul Sagar, 'Albatrosses - New Zealand’s great albatrosses', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/7497/southern-royal-albatross (accessed 26 May 2020)

Story by Paul Sagar, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 17 Feb 2015