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Wintering aeas and juvenile dispersal of the black-browed albatross on Saunders Island (Falkland Islands)

Wintering aeas and juvenile dispersal of the black-browed albatross on Saunders Island (Falkland Islands)

The Falkland Islands lie in the south-west region of the South Atlantic Ocean, approximately 600 km east of the mainland of South America. The present study was carried out in the Saunders Island. Saunders Island (51.37°S 60.09°W) is a 12,500-ha-sized island off the north coast of West Falkland Island. It is home to four species of penguins, king Aptenodytes patagonicus, gentoo Pygoscelis papua, rockhopper Eudyptes chrysocome, and magellanic Spheniscus magellanicus; two species of shags, rock Phalacrocorax magellanicus and imperial P. atriceps; and several colonies of black-browed albatrosses Thalassarche melanophrys. Upland Chloephaga picta and ruddy-headed geese C. rubidiceps occur on the island.

Our goal is to understand more about them as a species, researching the behaviors and movements during breeding season and winter season, identifying foraging areas, distance of trips and returns to Sanders Island. Also, differences in productivity, nutritional conditions, personality, position in the colony and measures of males and females of adults and chicks were registered in the Sanders colonies.

Our team spent 2 weeks per year in Sanders Islands ringing and measuring chicks and adults’ albatrosses, taking blood samples, feathers samples, and equipping with GPS-PTT and GPS dataloggers 11 adults albatrosses. All individuals were related with them own nest identified with GPS position. These emitters fix 5 positions per day. Emitters were fixed by Teflon harnesses to the back of the adults’ albatrosses.

A total of 32 adults and 20 chicks were ringed with PVC rings. For all of them our team took blood samples, feather samples and body measurements. Also 6 chicks more were selected for the nest position in the colony and identified by the nest number, blood samples, feather samples and body measurements were also collected from these 6 chicks. For all the adults raped we took pictures about eyes in order to try to understand causes of differences in the eyes spots length.

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