Chick feeding in the diving petrels Pelecanoides georgicus and P. urinatrix exsul
Chick feeding in common diving petrels (Pelecanoides urinatrix exsul) and South Georgia diving petrels (P. georgicus) was studied on Bird Island, South Georgia. Complete chick meals removed from the proventriculus of adults averaged 25.5 g (n = 32) for common diving petrels (17.6% of adult mass) and 23.3 g (n = 24) for South Georgia diving petrels (20.2% of adult mass); neither contained stomach oils. The sum of the positive mass increments during overnight weighings (SUM) averaged 48.6 g for common diving petrel chicks (n = 78 chick nights) and 41.6 g for South Georgia diving petrel chicks (n = 78 chick nights). Average adult feeding frequencies were 0.95 meals day−1 and 0.92 meals day−1, respectively. Relative meal size in diving petrels was similar to that of other procellariiforms, but SUM averaged about twice that of other petrels. The lower conversion efficiency of meals to body mass in diving petrel chicks reflects the absence of stomach oils in the diet. Higher chick feeding frequency and lower variance in SUM are consistent with the hypothesis that diving petrels forage nearshore on reliable food supply compared with other procellariiforms.