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Inter-annual variation in provisioning behaviour of Southern Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome at Staten Island, Argentina

Authors

  • ANDREA RAYA REY,

    Corresponding author
    1. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas, Bernardo Houssay 200 (V9410BFD) Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
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  • PHIL TRATHAN,

    1. British Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
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  • ADRIAN SCHIAVINI

    1. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas, Bernardo Houssay 200 (V9410BFD) Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
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*Corresponding author. Email: arayarey@speedy.com.ar

Abstract

Understanding the relationship between reproductive performance and food availability requires knowledge about many different variables, including such factors as the length of incubation shifts, provisioning rates and patterns, as well as how variability in these factors affects reproductive output. To examine some of the most important aspects of parental investment, we studied the provisioning behaviour and patterns of adult Southern Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome breeding at Staten Island, Argentina. We investigated foraging trip duration, provisioning rates and chick survival using adult foraging patterns. Our results show that Rockhopper Penguins had clear sex-specific differences in their provisioning behaviour. Females provision chicks throughout chick rearing. By contrast, males provision chicks only during the crèche stage and at a slightly lower rate than females during this period. Foraging trips increased in length as the breeding season progressed. Rockhopper Penguins from Staten Island performed longer trips throughout the breeding season than do other species of Eudyptes at several other locations. Our results also show differences in parental investment between years that were related to differences in chick survival. We suggest that this was most likely to be related to female rather than male foraging behaviour as only females showed inter-annual differences in their provisioning rates.

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