The diet of the Southern rockhopper penguin Eudyptes chrysocome chrysocome at Beauchene Island, Falkland Islands
The diet of the Southern rockhopper penguin at Beauchene Island, Falkland Islands, was studied in the early chick‐rearing period by quantitative analysis of adult stomach contents. Juvenile squid (Teuthowenia sp.) comprised on average 21% by numbers (c. 1000 per sample) and 53% by weight; crustaceans contributed 79% by numbers (c. 4000 per sample) but only 45% by weight, and fish 2% by weight. Of the crustaceans only the euphausids Euphausia lucens (66% by numbers), E. vallentini (19%) and Thysanoessa gregaria (15%) were present in significant quantities, and all are swarming species characteristic of the Patagonian shelf epipelagic zooplankton. Comparison is made with the limited dietary data available from other studies, and rockhopper penguins are suggested typically to feed opportunistically on swarming or shoaling zooplankton (particularly euphausids and young squid) and small fish. Whereas the average weight of the stomach contents was 220 g, the biomass of the individuals originally ingested was estimated to total 800 g; the c. 3000 kj this represents is consistent with the likely energy requirements of adults making daily foraging trips to rear small chicks.
Authors: Croxall, J.P., Prince, P.A., Baird, A., Ward, Peter