The food and feeding ecology of Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) and Chinstrap penguins (P. antarctica) at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands

Adélie Pygoscelis adeliae and Chinstrap P. antarctica penguins are important consumers of Southern Ocean marine resources. The stomach contents of adult penguins at Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, were analysed quantitatively throughout the chick‐rearing period. They consisted almost exclusively of Antarctic krill Euphausia superba, Adélies eating 35–63% by number and 23–28% by weight of juvenile krill and Chinstraps 72–87% by number and 90–95% by weight of mature krill, as well as small amounts offish and amphipods. Interspecific dietary differences may partly be attributable to Adélies starting breeding one month before Chinstraps but, as they persist when both are simultaneously rearing chicks, the two species may also forage in somewhat different areas. Krill data from net hauls indicate a substantial overlap in the size of krill taken by scientific, and probably also commercial, operations and by Adélie and Chinstrap penguins. Chicks were fed c. 300 g of food 0–5‐0‐8 times per day, Chinstrap chicks without a sibling being fed most frequently. Chicks of both species were most often fed in the late afternoon, and from estimates of swimming speed and feeding frequency adults may feed quite extensively at night.


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Authors: Lishman, G.S.

1 January, 1985
Journal of Zoology / 205
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