Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 6, pp 1227–1235 | Cite as

Winter migration of magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) from the southernmost distributional range

  • Klemens PützEmail author
  • Adrian Schiavini
  • Andrea Raya Rey
  • Benno H. Lüthi
Research Article


A total of 22 magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) from Isla Martillo in the Beagle Channel, Argentina, were successfully satellite tracked in 2004 (n = 7), 2005 (n = 7) and 2006 (n = 8) to monitor their winter migration after moult. Only one magellanic penguin migrated northwards into the Pacific Ocean, whereas all others remained in the Atlantic Ocean. In general, these birds left the island in an easterly direction, rounded Cabo San Diego, the southeasterly tip of South America, and continued northwards occupying inshore waters mostly less than 50 km from the coast, only occasionally venturing further offshore. By the end of the transmission period, birds were still travelling northwards and the most northerly positions were obtained from birds located in the area of Peninsula Valdés, Argentina, at a latitude of around 42°S, some 1,500 km from their breeding site on Isla Martillo. The mean maximum distance to the breeding site was, however, only 624 ± 460 km. The mean minimum distance covered during the study period was 1,440 ± 685 km, which corresponded to a mean distance of 23.2 ± 6.6 km covered per day. The northbound migration of the penguins could be separated into periods of rapid movement, interspersed with periods during which the birds remained for some time in particular coastal regions. Areas with a high density of daily penguin positions were observed in three distinct areas: at the northeastern coast of Tierra del Fuego, at the southern entrance of Golfo San Jorge and to the northeast of the Peninsula Valdez. The observed migration pattern is presumably driven by the formation and subsequent dispersal of areas of enhanced productivity as the season progressed. Our findings also suggest that magellanic penguins are increasingly threatened by human activities in coastal areas as penguins migrate northwards.


Green Turtle Humpback Whale Transmission Period Hydrodynamic Drag Satellite Transmitter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The Antarctic Research Trust gratefully acknowledges the generous donations, without which this study would not have been possible. Special thanks are due to those sponsoring individual penguins, in particular Lesley Baxter, Ruth and Walther Egli Henzi, Karin and Michael Elosgé, Eva Fechter, Dieter Grätz, Ingrid and Irmin Gröger, Rita and Guido Heule, Heinz Huber, Biggi and Hartmut Krenzien, Josef Nieberle, Bärbel and Klaus Panzer, Andrea Thomayer, Elke and Claus Wilm of the SPD-Reiseservice, Vontobel Stiftung and Beat Wolfer. The authors are grateful to Lesley Baxter for language editing and to Phil Trathan, Yan Ropert-Coudert and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions on the manuscript. This study was approved by the National Council of Scientific Research and the Natural Resources Agency of the province of Tierra del Fuego and complied with the legal requirements in Argentina.


  1. Acevedo JA, Aguayo-Lobo A, Pastene LA (2006) Site fidelity of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae Borowski, 1781) to the Magellanic Strait feeding ground. Rev Biol Mar Oceanogr 41:11–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Acha EM, Mianzan EH, Guerrero RA, Favero M, Bava J (2004) Marine fronts at the continental shelves of austral South America physical and ecological processes. J Mar Syst 44:83–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Argos (1996) User’s manual. CLS service Argos, Toulouse, France, 176 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Bannasch R (1995) Hydrodynamics of penguins—an experimental approach. In: Dann P, Normann I, Reilly P (eds) The penguins: ecology and management. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Melbourne, p 141–176Google Scholar
  5. Bannasch R, Wilson RP, Culik BM (1994) Hydrodynamic aspects of design and attachment of a back-mounted device in penguins. J Exp Biol 194:83–96Google Scholar
  6. Boersma PD, Stokes DL, Yorio PM (1990) Reproductive variability and historical change of Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) at Punta Tombo, Argentina. In: Davis SL, Darby JT (eds) Penguins biology, Academic Press, Inc., San Diego, p 15–43Google Scholar
  7. Boersma PD, Stokes DL, Strange IJ (2002) Applying ecology to conservation: tracking breeding penguins at New Island South reserve, Falkland Islands. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 12:63–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Borboroglu PG, Boersma PD, Ruoppolo V, Reyes L, Rebstock GA, Griot K, Heredia SR, Adornes AC, da Silva RP (2006) Chronic oil pollution harms Magellanic penguins in the Southwest Atlantic. Mar Pollut Bull 52:193–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiaradia A, Ropert-Coudert Y, Healy M, Knott N (2005) Finding the balance: the effect of the position of external devices on little penguins. Polar Biosci 18:46–53Google Scholar
  10. Clausen A, Pütz K (2002) Recent trends in diet composition and productivity of Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguins in the Falkland Islands. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 12:51–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Culik BM, Wilson RP (1991) Swimming energetics and performance of instrumented Adelie Penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae). J Exp Biol 158:355–368Google Scholar
  12. Fonseca VS, Petry MV, Jost AH (2001) Diet of the Magellanic Penguin on the coast of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Waterbirds 24:290–293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Forero MG, Hobson KA, Bortolotti GR, Donázar JA, Bertelotti M, Blanco G (2002) Food resource utilisation by the Magellanic penguin evaluated through stable-isotope analysis: segregation by sex and age and influence on offspring quality. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 234:289–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Franklin J (2006) Penguins caught in oil spill saved by “commando” verterans. National Geographic News.
  15. Gandini P, Boersma PD, Frere E, Gandini M, Holik T, Lichtschein V (1994) Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) affected by chronic petroleum pollution along coast of Chubut, Argentina. Auk 111:20–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gandini P, Frere E, Pettovello AD, Cedrola PV (1999) Interaction between Magellanic penguins and shrimp fisheries in Patagonia, Argentina. Condor 101:783–789CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glorioso PD, Flather RA (1995) A barotropic model of the currents off SE South America. J Geophys Res 100:13427–13440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Godley BJ, Lima EHSM, Åkesson S, Broderick AC, Glen F, Godfrey MH, Luschi P, Hays GC (2003) Movement patterns of green turtles in Brazilian coastal waters described by satellite tracking and flipper tagging. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 253:279–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Luschi P, Lutjeharms JRE, Lambardi P, Mencacci R, Hughes GR, Hays GC (2006) A review of migratory behaviour of sea turtles off southeastern Africa. S Afr J Sci 102:51–58Google Scholar
  20. Otley HM, Clausen AP, Christie DJ, Pütz K (2004) Some aspects of the breeding biology of Magellanic penguins in the Falkland Islands. Waterbirds 27:396–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Perkins JS (1983) Oiled Magellanic Penguins in Golfo San Jose, Argentina. Mar Pollut Bull 14:383–387CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Peters G, Wilson RP, Scolaro JA, Laurenti S, Upton J, Gallelli H (1998) The diving behaviour of Magellanic Penguins at Punta Norte, Peninsula Valdés, Argentina. Colon Waterbirds 21:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pütz K, Ingham RJ, Smith JG (2000) Satellite tracking of the winter migration of Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) breeding in the Falkland Islands. Ibis 142:614–622CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Pütz K, Ingham RJ, Smith JG, Croxall JP (2001) Population trends, breeding success and diet composition of gentoo Pygoscelis papua, magellanic Spheniscus magellanicus and rockhopper Eudyptes chrysocome penguins in the Falkland Islands. Polar Biol 24:793–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Pütz K, Ingham RJ, Smith JG (2002a) Foraging movements of Magellanic Penguins Spheniscus magellanicus during the breeding season in the Falkland Islands. Aquat Conserv Mar Freshw Ecosyst 12:75–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pütz K, Smith JG, Ingham RJ, Lüthi BH (2002b) Winter dispersal of Rockhopper Penguins Eudyptes chrysocome from the Falkland Islands and its implications for conservation. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 240:273–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Pütz K, Raya Rey A, Schiavini A, Clausen AP, Lüthi BH (2006) Winter migration of rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes c chrysocome) breeding in the Southwest Atlantic is utilisation of different foraging areas reflected in opposing population trends? Polar Biol 29:735–744CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Radl A, Culik BM (1999) Foraging behaviour and reproductive success in Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus): a comparative study of two colonies in southern Chile. Mar Biol 133:381–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Ropert-Coudert Y, Wilson RP, Yoda K, Kato A (2007) Assessing performance constraints in penguins with externally-attached devices. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 333:281–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sabatini ME, Ramírez FC, Martos P (2000) Distribution pattern and population structure of Calanus australis Brodsky, 1959 in the southern Patagoniana shelf off Argentina in summer. ICES J Mar Sci 57:1856–1866CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Schreiber EA (2001) Climate and weather effects on seabirds. In: Schreiber EA, Burger J (eds) Biology of marine birds. CRC Press LLC, Florida, p 179–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Scolaro JA, Hall MA, Ximénez IM (1983) The Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus): sexing adults by discriminant analysis of morphometric characters. Auk 100:221–224Google Scholar
  33. Scolaro JA, Wilson RP, Laurenti S, Kierspel M, Gallelli H, Upton JA (1999) Feeding preferences of the Magellanic Penguin over its breeding range in Argentina. Waterbirds 22:104–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Simeone A, Wilson RP (2003) In-depth studies of Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) foraging: can we estimate prey consumption by perturbations in the dive profile? Mar Biol 143:825–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stokes DL, Boersma PD (1999) Where breeding Magellanic Penguins forage: satellite telemetry results and their implications for penguin conservation. Mar Ornithol 27:59–65Google Scholar
  36. Stokes DL, Boersma PD, Davis LD (1998) Satellite tracking of Magellanic Penguins migration. Condor 100:376–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tamini LL, Perez JE, Chiaramonte GE, Cappozzo HL (2002) Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus and fish as bycatch in the cornalito Sorgentinia incisa fishery at Puerto Quequén, Argentina. Atl Seabirds 4:109–114Google Scholar
  38. Thompson KR (1993) Variation in Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus diet in the Falkland Islands. Mar Ornithol 21:57–67Google Scholar
  39. Vlietstra LS, Coyle KO, Kachel NB, Hunt GL (2005) Tidal front affects the size of prey used by a top marine predator, the short-tailed shearwater (Puffinus tenuirostris). Fish Oceanogr 14 (Suppl. 1):196–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walker BG, Boersma PD (2003) Diving behaviour of Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) at Punta Tombo, Argentina. Can J Zool 81:1471–1483CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Walker BG, Boersma PD, Wingfield (2005) Physiological and behavioral differences in Magellanic Penguin chicks in undisturbed and tourist-visited locations of a colony. Conserv Biol 19:1571–1577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Walker BG, Boersma PD, Wingfield JC (2006) Habituation of adult Magellanic Penguins to human visitation as expressed through behavior and corticosterone secretion. Conserv Biol 20:146–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Williams TD (1995) The penguins. Oxford University Press, Oxford 295 ppGoogle Scholar
  44. Wilson RP, Pütz K, Bost CA, Culik BM, Bannasch R, Reins T, Adelung D (1993) Diel dive depth in penguins in relation to diel vertical migration of prey: whose dinner by candlelight? Mar Ecol Prog Ser 94:101–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Wilson RP, Scolaro JA, Peters G, Laurenti S, Kierspel M, Gallelli H, Upton J (1995) Foraging areas of Magellanic Penguins Spheniscus magellanicus breeding at San Lorenzo, Argentina, during the incubation period. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 129:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilson RP, Pütz K, Peters G, Culik B, Scolaro JA, Charrassin J-B, Ropert-Coudert Y (1997) Long-term attachment of transmitting and recording devices to penguins and other seabirds. Wildl Soc Bull 25:101–106Google Scholar
  47. Wilson RP, Kreye JM, Lucke K, Urquhart (2004) Antennae on transmitters on penguins: balancing energy budgets on the high wire. J Exp Biol 207:2649–2662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wilson RP, Scolaro JA, Grémillet D, MAM Kierspel, Laurenti S, Upton J, Gallelli H, Quintana F, Frere E, Müller G, thor Straten M, Zimmer I (2005) How do Magellanic Penguins cope with variability in their access to prey? Ecol Monogr 75:379–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Woods RW, Woods A (1997) Atlas of breeding birds of the Falkland Islands. Redwood Books, Trowbridge, 190 ppGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klemens Pütz
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Adrian Schiavini
    • 2
    • 3
  • Andrea Raya Rey
    • 2
  • Benno H. Lüthi
    • 4
  1. 1.Antarctic Research TrustStanley FIQQ 1ZZFalkland Islands
  2. 2.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y TécnicasCADICTierra del FuegoArgentina
  3. 3.Wildlife Conservation SocietyBronxUSA
  4. 4.Antarctic Research Trust (Switzerland)ForchSwitzerland
  5. 5.BremervördeGermany

Personalised recommendations