Foraging movements of magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus during the breeding season in the Falkland Islands



  • 1.During the breeding season 1998/99 the foraging movements of magellanic penguins breeding at Seal Bay to the northeast of the Falkland Islands were tracked using satellite transmitters.
  • 2.The penguins studied foraged for varying time periods of between 1 and over 67 days. Foraging trips generally followed a looping course and distance from the colony increased with the duration of the foraging trip. The area most frequented was to the northeast of the colony.
  • 3.Typically, penguins travelled in an anti-clockwise direction, i.e. birds left the colony on an easterly course and returned from a westerly direction. This pattern may be linked to the main current surrounding the Falkland Islands.
  • 4.Two birds headed further north and foraged over the Patagonian Shelf and along the continental slope up to 41°S.
  • 5.Average daily activity of the birds ranged between 32 and 53%, with a tendency to be slightly higher during foraging trips of less than a week.
  • 6.Average travelling speeds ranged between 2.2 and 6.6 km/h, being significantly higher in birds with foraging trips lasting more than a week. Maximum travelling speeds achieved were occasionally higher than 12 km/h, always achieved by birds foraging for more than 20 days, consequently moving further away from the colony and becoming associated with the prevailing currents.
  • 7.The implications of the findings are discussed with respect to potential threats from human activities in the area, namely oil exploration and fisheries.

Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.