Three New Zealand birds are enjoying their big OE and are not expected back for years.
The three northern royal albatross are being monitored as part of a Massey University PhD student’s research into their behaviour.
Conservation Minister Chris Carter said a chick he named Toroa at a special ceremony earlier this year was now 550km off the coast of New Zealand and heading east into the Pacific Ocean.
Toroa and the other two young albatross were fitted with lightweight transmitters which track their position by satellite every six hours.
PhD student Bindi Thomas would look into the first year of the birds’ lives – they are expected to spend up to seven years at sea.
“This research will give us important information on what is one of the most solitary and amazing journeys in the animal kingdom,” Mr Carter said.
“Hopefully, all three young birds will eventually return to Taiaroa Head after their years of wandering and successfully raise their own chicks.”
Toroa flew up the coast of New Zealand as far as Oamaru before heading east into the Pacific. Toroa, who fledged late last month, got a head start on the other two birds and has flown 700km so far.