The southern royal albatross usually pairs for life, with new pairs performing elaborate courtship displays that include actions like ‘bill-circling’, ‘sky-pointing’, ‘flank-touching’ with the bill, and full spreading of the wings, typically accompanied by a variety of calls (6). Breeding occurs every two years, if successful, with breeding birds returning to their nesting grounds from late October to mid-November (6) (7) (8). Previously mated pairs usually use the same nest site from season to season (6). The male arrives at the nest-site a few days before the female to defend the territory from other males and rebuild or start building a new nest (6). One egg is laid in November to December and incubated by both parents for 79 days (6) (7) (8). Chicks hatch in February to March and usually fledge eight months later from October to December (8). Juveniles do not return to their natal colony until four to eight years of age, but these long-lived birds do not begin breeding until nine to eleven years (6) (7).
The southern royal albatross feeds mainly on surface shoaling fish and squid, supplemented by crustaceans and carrion, which are mostly hunted at night (2) (6) (7).