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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 614:183-197 (2019)  -  DOI:

Foraging ecology of a winter breeder, the Fiordland penguin

Timothée A. Poupart1,2,3,*, Susan M. Waugh2, Charles A. Bost3, Akiko Kato3, Colin M. Miskelly2, Karyne M. Rogers4, John P. Y. Arnould1

1School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science & Technology, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
2Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, PO Box 467, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
3Centre d’Études Biologiques de Chizé, UMR7372 CNRS/Univ La Rochelle, 79360 Villiers-en-Bois, France
4National Isotope Centre, GNS Science, PO Box 31-312, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Breeding in most species is timed to coincide with the greatest availability of food resources to support the increased energetic needs of reproduction. Correspondingly, the majority (76%) of seabird species in temperate and polar regions breed in spring/summer, matching the peak in ocean productivity. The Fiordland penguin Eudyptes pachyrhynchus is one of only 34 seabird species worldwide that have part of their breeding cycle during the winter, and its chicks fledge when the eggs of congeneric Eudyptes species in the same region are only starting to hatch. Little is known of the foraging ecology of this species and the factors that may influence its timing of breeding. In the present study, the foraging behaviour of breeding individuals from Taumaka/Open Bay Island, New Zealand, was investigated using GPS, dive recorder and tri-axis accelerometer data loggers. In total, 35 individuals (4 males, 31 females) were tracked at sea, revealing extensive use of continental shelf slope (200-1000 m) habitat within 42 ± 5 km of the colony. Individuals foraged mostly during daylight in the epi-pelagic zone (mean modal depth 22 ± 2 m) and prey encounter events occurred in 50% of dives. Blood isotopic signatures suggest a trophic level indicative of squid consumption, supporting previous findings that winter-spawning squid are the most important prey type. The results of the present study suggest that a winter-breeding strategy by seabirds can reflect locally abundant prey resources and suitable conditions at the time for breeding.

KEY WORDS: Foraging behaviour · Winter breeding · Bio-logging · Prey encounter · Eudyptes pachyrhynchus · New Zealand

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Cite this article as: Poupart TA, Waugh SM, Bost CA, Kato A, Miskelly CM, Rogers KM, Arnould JPY (2019) Foraging ecology of a winter breeder, the Fiordland penguin. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 614:183-197.

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