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Polar Biology

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 1139–1148 | Cite as

Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans breeding phenology at Marion Island

  • M. Genevieve W. JonesEmail author
  • Ben J. Dilley
  • Quentin A. Hagens
  • Henk Louw
  • Edith M. Mertz
  • Paul Visser
  • Peter G. Ryan
Original Paper

Abstract

South Africa’s Prince Edward Islands support a large proportion (44 %) of the global Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans breeding population, yet most breeding phenology data are recorded from smaller and geographically distant populations. Timing of breeding at Marion Island was remarkably constant across three successive years (2007–2009), providing a good baseline against which future changes can be assessed. Male (but not female) early arrival and presence at the colony during the pre-laying period was positively related to breeding success. Earlier hatching chicks were more likely to survive, but timing of egg laying and incubation periods did not influence fledging success. Although there was considerable individual variation in breeding phenology, average dates of male arrival, laying and hatching were later at Marion (47°S), Crozet (46°S) and Kerguelen (49°S) than at more southerly Bird Island, South Georgia (54°S). Earlier breeding at South Georgia may ensure that chicks have time to grow sufficiently to survive harsh winter conditions that set in earlier at South Georgia.

Keywords

Hatching date Incubation Laying date Pre-laying presence 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We greatly appreciate Jordan-Laine Calder’s assistance with data collation. This paper built upon data from long-term monitoring of Wandering Albatrosses at Marion Island initiated by John Cooper. Financial and logistical support was provided by the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence (CoE) at the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and the South African National Antarctic Programme through the National Research Foundation.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Genevieve W. Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ben J. Dilley
    • 1
  • Quentin A. Hagens
    • 1
  • Henk Louw
    • 1
  • Edith M. Mertz
    • 1
  • Paul Visser
    • 1
  • Peter G. Ryan
    • 1
  1. 1.Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, DST-NRF Centre of ExcellenceUniversity of Cape TownRondeboschSouth Africa

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