Distribution and foraging behaviour of the Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata) off northern Chile
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- Ludynia, K., Garthe, S. & Luna-Jorquera, G. J Ornithol (2010) 151: 103. doi:10.1007/s10336-009-0431-1
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The Peruvian Booby (Sula variegata) is one of the most numerous guano bird species in the Humboldt Current. We used a combination of data logger deployment, at-sea observations and colony-based work to investigate the foraging and diving behaviour, as well as the at-sea distribution and food choice of Peruvian Boobies breeding at Isla Pajaros, northern central Chile. Birds foraged in the vicinity of Isla Pajaros. They performed short foraging trips, varying between a few minutes and several hours. Average foraging range was 17.1 ± 3.5 km and diving took place between 2 and 10 km off the coast. Birds dived to depth of up to 10 m with an average depth of 4.3 ± 1.5 m. By at-sea observations as well as by data logger deployment, we identified important foraging areas close to the coast, especially around protruding points. The birds’ diet was highly variable between years, with Inka scad (Trachurus murphyi) and anchovy (Engraulis ringens) being the overall dominant prey species. Despite limited sample sizes, this paper presents first results about the foraging behaviour of Peruvian Boobies at the largest breeding colony in northern Chile. This information is essential for a better understanding of the effects of environmental changes as well as for the implementation of conservation measures.