Patterns of immigration to and emigration from breeding colonies by African penguins

  • P A Whittington Formerly Avian Demography Unit, Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Cape Town, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa; now Department of Zoology, PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
  • R M Randall South African National Parks, PO Box 176, Sedgefield 6573, South Africa
  • R JM Crawford Marine and Coastal Management, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Private Bag X2, Rogge Bay 8012, South Africa
  • A C Wolfaardt Western Cape Nature Conservation Board, Private Bag X5014, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
  • N TW Klages Institute for Environmental and Coastal Management, PO Box 77000, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth 6031, South Africa
  • B M Randall PO Box 853, Sedgefield 6573, South Africa
  • P A Bartlett Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, PO Box 394, Lüderitz, Namibia
  • Y J Chesselet Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, PO Box 394, Lüderitz, Namibia
  • R Jones Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, PO Box 394, Lüderitz, Namibia
Keywords: African penguin, breeding colonies, emigration, immigration, <i>Spheniscus demersus</i>

Abstract

Of over 20 000 African penguins Spheniscus demersus that had been flipper-banded as chicks between 1978 and 1999, 2% of those re-sighted after fledging settled to breed at non-natal colonies. This represented 14% of the banded birds that were subsequently recorded breeding. Only one of these immigrants had previously been recorded breeding at its natal colony, the rest presumably being first-time breeders. The largest proportions of banded chicks that emigrated came from Dyer Island on the south coast of South Africa, all of which settled at colonies to the west or north. Penguins emigrating from Namibian breeding colonies either relocated to the Western Cape of South Africa or settled at colonies farther to the north in Namibia. Emigration and immigration of African penguins are thought to be driven by changes in the distribution and availability of their prey. Eight penguins that were banded in adult plumage were found to have attempted breeding at more than one locality. All were survivors of the Apollo Sea oil spill of 1994 and had been cleaned and released by the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds. This is thought to be the first documented evidence of attempted breeding by African penguins at more than one locality.

African Journal of Marine Science 2005, 27(1): 205–213
Published
2005-06-30
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1814-2338
print ISSN: 1814-232X