Original Paper

Polar Biology

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 638-647

First online:

The diet of black-browed albatrosses at the Diego Ramirez Islands, Chile

  • Javier ArataAffiliated withInstituto de Ecología y Evolución, Campus Isla Teja, Universidad Austral de Chile Email author 
  • , José C. XavierAffiliated withBritish Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council

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The diet of black-browed albatrosses was studied at Gonzalo Island, Diego Ramirez, Chile, during the early chick-rearing periods of 2000, 2001, and 2002. Diet composition was determined by sampling chick-stomach contents during January and February of each year. Reconstituted meal mass was similar throughout the study, with diet being dominated by fish in all 3 years. Overall, the main items taken were the fishes Macruronus magellanicus (66–89% by mass) and Micromesistius australis (2.6–3.7% by mass), which are both fisheries-related species, and the squid Martialia hyadesi (8–20% by mass). The distribution of the prey species indicates that black-browed albatrosses obtained the bulk of their food over the South American continental shelf, but also foraged at the Antarctic Polar Front. The prevalence in the diet of fish species discarded from fishing operations, and the presence of fish hooks and fish bait species, indicate a strong association with fisheries in southern Chile.