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  • Writer's pictureLaura Beasley

Tristan albatross are hatching!

Updated: Nov 9, 2018

It is Tristan albatross hatching time on Gough Island! It would be hard for anyone to resist photographing these small, fluffy albatross, so Fabrice, Kate and Jaimie (our Gough Island team) took the opportunity to show us the first few days of a young albatross’s life through this photo blog.

But before the chicks, it all started with a courtship dance…

Two non-breeding tristan albatross practicing their courtship dance
Jaimie Cleeland

And for those too young to breed, hatching time is a chance to show off the moves they’ll one day use for courtship… even if no one is watching

non-breeding tristan albatross practice their courtship dance
Jaimie Cleeland

Once the adults have settled down to nest, the team starts checking all the nests for eggs and chicks...

The team checks tristan albatross nests for eggs and chicks

...and it wasn't long before Jaimie found a male Tristan albatross watching as his egg started to hatch!

A male tristan albatross has an egg ready to hatch

Tristan albatross chick hatching on Gough Island
Kate Lawrence

This little albatross has only been in the world for a few hours.

A new born tristan albatross chick

The new born chicks are brooded by their parents, keeping them warm and guarded from danger.

an adult tristan albatross brooding it's chick on gough island
Kate Lawrence

adult tristan albatross brooding it's chick
Kate Lawrence

Tristan albatross chicks grow quickly – this parent is proudly showing off their one day old chick!

an adult tristan albatross and chick on gough island
Jaimie Cleeland

Kate Lawrence

So quickly in fact that in just 10 months’ time this little chick will have grown a 3 meter wingspan and will be ready to explore the open ocean of the South Atlantic and beyond!

a 1 day old tristan albatross chick
Jaimie Cleeland

But, for now, being a baby albatross is tiring…

tristan albatross chick on gough island
Kate Lawrence there's just time for a quick scratch...

tristan albatross chick scratching
Kate Lawrence

…before it’s time to snuggle up again.

tristan albatross chick brooded by adult
Jaimie Cleeland

Welcome to your Gough Island home little Tristan albatross chicks!

Sadly, these chicks are at risk from mouse predation. Not all of them will reach fledgling age and this is loss is driving Tristan albatross population numbers down every year. The planned mouse eradication operation in 2019 will remove the threat of invasive alien mice from the island, and restore Gough as a safe, secure home for albatross chicks to thrive. 

To keep up to date with all the latest news as we lead up to the 2019 eradication operation, please follow our Gough Island Facebook and Twitter pages, or contact us on the email address below to sign up for our newsletter.


The Gough Island Restoration Programme is being carried out by the RSPB in partnership with Tristan da CunhaBirdLife South Africa and the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa.

The programme is part-funded by the RSPB, the UK government, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other generous individuals and organisations.

If you would like to support our efforts to save the Critically Endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting, please get in touch, or you can donate using our online form

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