Fledging behaviour of juvenile northern royal albatrosses (Diomedea sanfordi): a GPS tracking study
|Title||Fledging behaviour of juvenile northern royal albatrosses (Diomedea sanfordi): a GPS tracking study|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Authors||Thomas, B, Minot, EO, Holland, JD|
|Type of Article||Full article|
|Keywords||Diomedea sanfordi, GPS, juvenile, migration, New Zealand, northern royal albatross, tracking|
Using GPS technology, we tracked 3 juvenile northern royal albatrosses (Diomedea sanfordi) as they fledged from Taiaroa Head, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. All birds flew north along the east coast of New Zealand before undertaking a trans-Pacific easterly migration to Chile. During their 8500 km migration, the maximum daily distance and speed reached were 1047 km and 110 km h-1, respectively, and the maximum altitude was 38 m a.s.l. Upon leaving New Zealand waters, the 3 albatrosses took between 16 to 34 days to reach the coast of Chile where they remained between 23°S and 58°S. The tracked albatrosses generally kept to within 100 km of the coast where the depth of water varied between 1000 and 2000 m. Overall, the tracked albatrosses on the Chilean coast spent 72% of the time resting on the water, primarily between 1800 h and 2400 h local time. Fix success rate of the GPS technology ranged from 56% to 85%. The use of solar charging and a long attachment period allowed birds to be followed continuously for 134 to 362 days. Our study confirms the value of GPS technology in uncovering the movements and life history of wide-ranging oceanic birds.