Due to the difficult access of the Pyramid islet, and the frequently challenging sea and weather conditions surrounding it, the Chatham albatross remains one of the least known of the world’s albatross species (2) (5). It is thought to lay a single egg every year, in August or September, and incubate it for 66 to 72 days. The egg hatches between October and December, and the chick is thought to fledge between February and April (2) (6). Incubation of the egg and feeding of the chick is carried out by both parents, in five day stints (5).
From late July to early April, non-breeders followed by successful breeders migrate across the South Pacific to Chile and Peru. Tracking of the albatross has shown that they complete this immense journey in 11 to 30 days (4). They then return to the Chatham Islands via a more northerly route in July and August (2). Out over the ocean, the Chatham albatross feeds on a diet of squid, fish and krill (7). Returning back to ‘The Pyramid’, the albatrosses form dense colonies on the grassy and rocky slopes, ready to breed again (6). Young chicks have been recorded first returning to the breeding colony at four years of age and first breeding at the age of seven (7).