They’ve become local celebrities and now the same-sex New Zealand royal albatross couple are the proud parents of a baby girl.
The chick hatched yesterday after the female bird couple incubated its egg on the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin.
Even before the chick was born she rose to local fame with her unusual co-mother parenting situation, rare in the species.
Visitors to the Royal Albatross Centre — which runs guided tours on the royal albatross breeding process — are now asking to see the new family.
Recently the Centre put a public call out to name the newborn. Suggestions include Lady Gagabatross, Lesley, Dixie, Ellen, Pika and Cuco.
The royal albatross is an endangered species and this particular family is part of the only breeding colony on the New Zealand mainland.
The new chick is one of 17 babies to hatch from 17 eggs. The Department of Conservation said that for the first time in 16 years the colony has a 100 percent birth success rate.
As the chicks grow and finally venture out on their first flight they will stay at sea for three to six years without touching land.
Fully grown, the endangered birds have a three-metre wing span and can reach speeds of up to 115kph.
The female bird couple is not the only rainbow family in the neighbourhood. Penguin Place, a private conservation reserve near the Albatross Centre is also home to a gay penguin couple.It’I