Similar foraging behaviour but different habitat use between failed and successful breeding albatrosses



3rd World Seabird Conference 2021

Breeding failure is expected to induce behavioural changes in central place foraging seabirds. Indeed, failed breeders do not have to regularly come back to their colony for reproductive duties and thus, they are not constrained anymore in their movements for the rest of the breeding season. Accordingly, they are expected to adjust their at-sea behaviour, travelling longer in distance and/or time to reach foraging grounds. They are also expected to use different foraging areas to decrease local intra-specific competition with successful breeders. However, so far, only few studies have investigated the effect of breeding failure on individual behaviour and distribution. In this study, we compared the at-sea behaviour and habitat use of successful and failed Indian yellow-nosed albatrosses nesting in Amsterdam Island, Southern Indian Ocean, during two chick-rearing periods. Failed breeders exhibited the same at-sea foraging behaviour, travelling as far and as long as successful breeders. They also spent the same amount of time on their nest between at-sea trips. Nevertheless, habitat models revealed a partial spatial segregation of failed breeders, which used specific foraging areas characterized by deeper and colder waters, in addition to the ones they shared with successful breeders. Our study stresses the importance of considering breeding failure when aiming at understanding the spatial distribution of individuals, especially in a conservation perspective.
Aurore Ponchon¹, Amandine Gamble², Inkeri Ahtiainen¹, Jeremy Tornos³, Karine Delord⁴, Christophe Barbraud⁴, Justin Travis¹, Henri Weimerskirch⁴, Thierry Boulinier⁵
¹University of Aberdeen, ²University of California Los Angeles, ³CEFE-CNRS UMR 5175, ⁴CEBC-UMR 7372, ⁵CEFE-CNRS-UMR5175

Data type

Underline video library
Date made available1 Jan 2021
PublisherUnderline Science Inc.

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