Divergent foraging habitat preferences between summer-breeding and winter-breeding Procellaria petrels

Foraging niche specialisation is thought to occur when different members of speciose communities divide resources in either time or space. Here we compared habitat preferences of the congeneric Grey Petrel Procellaria cinerea and White-chinned Petrel P. aequinoctialis, tracked in the same calendar year using GPS loggers from Gough Island and Bird Island (South Georgia), respectively. We identified periods of active foraging and determined habitat characteristics using remote-sensing data. Although these highly pelagic species could potentially overlap at sea across large areas, they showed markedly different foraging preferences during their incubation periods, which are temporally offset because Grey Petrels breed during the austral winter. Grey Petrels foraged mostly in pelagic cold-water areas to the north-west of South Georgia, whereas White-chinned Petrels foraged almost exclusively in the warm, shallow waters of the Patagonian Shelf. Within each species, foraging habitat characteristics were highly consistent. Our results demonstrate the diversity of habitat preferences within genera, and provide further evidence that colony-specific information on habitat preference is crucial to identify important feeding areas for pelagic predators.


Publication status:
Authors: Bentley, Lily K. ORCIDORCID record for Lily K. Bentley, Manica, Andrea, Dilley, Ben J., Ryan, Peter G., Phillips, Richard A.

On this site: Lily Bentley, Richard Phillips
1 April, 2023
Ibis / 165
11pp / 618-628
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