A bird’s-eye view of the newest royal family member

This royal family will be staying very close to the nest, as its newest member recently hatched at Dunedin’s Royal Albatross Centre.

Northern royal albatross chick and mum on the nest on Otago Peninsula, New Zealand

The albatross chick isn’t a stranger to the public eye, with thousands of people tuning in to a live stream to watch the parents care for the egg over the past several months.

Set up by the Department of Conservation, “Royal Cam” is a 24-hour live stream of the royal albatross nest during the breeding season. 

This season's chick hatched on 31 January 2020 and is healthy and well. 

A partnership between the New Zealand Department of Conservation and Cornell University's laboratory of ornithology means the stream is shared internationally and cameras now include panning and night vision.

With a wing span of over three metres, the northern royal albatross is the largest seabird in the world. They are a vulnerable species and an icon of Dunedin. It is a taonga (treasured) species for the Ngāi Tahu Māori tribe. 

After the has chick fledged, the albatross parents will leave the colony and spend the following year at sea. They will then return to breed again, completing a two-year cycle.

Trade tips: 

Air New Zealand offers daily flights to Dunedin. The Royal Albatross Centre, a 45-minute drive away at Taiaroa Head, offers 60 and 90-minute tours.