The effect of body condition on the timing and success of breeding in Little Penguins
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Robinson, S and Chiaradia, A and Hindell, MA, The effect of body condition on the timing and success of breeding in Little Penguins
Eudyptula minor, Ibis, 147, (3) pp. 483-489. ISSN 0019-1019 (2005) [Refereed Article]
We studied the effect of parental body condition on the breeding biology of Little Penguins Eudyptula minor. Daily attendance patterns and body mass were recorded using an Automated Penguin Monitoring System, which collected arrival and departure masses for approximately 200 breeding birds over the 2000 and 2001 breeding seasons. Breeding success varied between the two years; 2000 was a year of average breeding success (fledging 1.07 chicks per pair), and 2001 a year of poor breeding success (fledging 0.53 chicks per pair). In both years, adult body condition (body mass divided by flipper length) increased significantly prior to laying. The laying period began over a month later in 2000 than in 2001, and birds in 2000 exhibited significantly better body condition at laying. However, the mean laying dates in 2000 were less variable than in the 2001 breeding season. Body condition appeared to influence both the time of breeding and breeding synchrony in Little Penguins. Breeding success was correlated with adult body condition at incubation in 2000 but not in 2001, indicating that success was not solely influenced by adult body condition at incubation. © 2005 British Ornithologists' Union.
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