Non-breeding movements of Gentoo Penguins at the Falkland Islands

Alastair M. M. Baylis*, Megan Tierney, Rachael A. Orben, Daniel González de la Peña, Paul Brickle

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
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    Although many penguin species migrate during the non-breeding period, Gentoo Penguins Pygoscelis papua are year-round residents. Despite being characterized as inshore feeders, the at-sea spatial usage of Gentoo Penguins during the non-breeding period, when central place foraging constraints are relaxed, is poorly understood. Here, we tracked the movements of Gentoo Penguins from five breeding colonies at the Falkland Islands, globally one of the largest Gentoo Penguin breeding populations. Gentoo Penguin movement patterns during the non-breeding period were complex, which likely reflects a high degree of foraging plasticity. Specifically, considerable individual variation existed in foraging trip distance, duration and fidelity to deployment location. For example, maximum foraging trip distance for individual penguins ranged from 64 to 600 km from the colony location (or 480 km from the nearest point on land), and maximum foraging trip duration ranged from 5.7 to 24.8 days. Gentoo Penguin foraging trip distance and duration at the Falkland Islands far exceeded those reported at other locations during the non-breeding period, and challenge the inshore, diurnal feeding stereotype. Gentoo Penguins also frequently moved between breeding colonies within the Falkland Islands archipelago, but typically returned to their respective colonies, although not necessarily on consecutive foraging trips. Extended movements highlight Gentoo Penguin breeding dispersal capability, which might play a crucial role in population dynamics and gene flow.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)507-518
    Number of pages12
    Issue number2
    Early online date9 Sept 2020
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


    • breeding dispersal
    • colony segregation
    • non-breeding period
    • Patagonian Shelf
    • philopatry


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