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Consistent Site‐Specific Foraging Behaviours of Yellow‐Eyed Penguins/Hoiho Breeding on Stewart Island, New Zealand

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posted on 20.09.2022, 03:26 authored by T Elley, T Mattern, Ursula EllenbergUrsula Ellenberg, MJ Young, RP Hickcox, Y van Heezik, PJ Seddon
The endangered yellow‐eyed penguin/hoiho (Megadyptes antipodes) predominantly forages benthically within its mainland range and shows high foraging site fidelity. Identifying consistencies in foraging locations can allow effective conservation, especially when managing bycatch risk. This study investigated the at‐sea distribution of penguins breeding on Stewart Island to explore site‐specific foraging strategies and inform fisheries management. During the 2020/21 season, 19 adult breeding yellow‐eyed penguins from Port Pegasus, Paterson Inlet, and Codfish Island were fitted with GPS‐TDR dive loggers to track their movements and diving behaviours. A total of 25,696 dives were recorded across 91 foraging trips. Birds from Port Pegasus reached significantly greater depths, spent longer at the seafloor, and performed longer dives. They also had the smallest foraging distribution, with most activity concentrated inshore. Compared to Port Pegasus, foraging radii and trip lengths were twice as large for Paterson Inlet and four times larger at Codfish Island. Despite differences in available foraging habitat, considerable individual and intra‐site consistency for preferred foraging locations was observed. Localised behaviour and inter‐site differences in dive metrics suggest significant plasticity in foraging ecology across their mainland range; however, individual behaviour and preferred foraging locations were extremely predictable. Thus, risk of mortality from fisheries can be quantified and managed accordingly.

History

Publication Date

31/05/2022

Journal

Biology

Volume

11

Issue

6

Article Number

844

Pagination

20p.

Publisher

MDPI

ISSN

2079-7737

Rights Statement

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).