Breeding Jackass Penguins as pelagic predators
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University of Cape Town
The foraging of breeding Jackass Penguins Spheniscus demersus was studied in and around southwestern Cape Province, Saldanha Bay (33⁰ S, 18⁰ E), South Africa. Penguins are difficult to observe at sea. Hence, I devised a number of new techniques for studying the foraging behaviour of Jackass Penguins at sea. I built electronic and autoradiographic remote-sensing devices to measure swimming speed, distance travelled and time spent at each depth by foraging Jackass Penguins. Penguin swimming speed was reduced in proportion to the cross-sectional area of the devices, and results derived from birds wearing the devices had to be interpreted accordingly. Penguins do not regurgitate their stomach contents when handled, so I constructed a wet-offloading stomach pump which extracted 100% of the stomach contents. Using this pump, I determined that the rate of digestion of fish and squid by Jackass Penguins differed. Care is needed in diet interpretations where both fish and squid are major food items.
Bibliography: pages 187-191.
Wilson, R. 1986. Breeding Jackass Penguins as pelagic predators. University of Cape Town.