The Magellanic Penguin population, too, has fluctuated significantly over the years. Along the South American coast numbers have been increasing at some sites and decreasing at others (1). Breeding pair numbers on the Falklands have fallen substantially over the past several decades, but we still don’t know why (2,3). We have researched the general breeding biology of Magellanics in the Falklands (4) as well as their population trends and their diet (2,3). In addition, the feeding areas of Magellanics have been studied during the breeding season (5) and in winter (6) using satellite telemetry. Comparative studies were conducted on Isla Martillo in the Beagle Channel, Argentina (7,8,9,10,11,12), on Isla de los Estados, Argentina (13), and on Islotas Punihuil in Chile, where Magellanic Penguins occur together with Humboldt Penguins (14,15,16,17). As a result, it has been suggested that mortality rates have increased due to commercial fishing activities (18) and pollution not only in the Falklands but also in the summer foraging and wintering areas along the South American coast (19). Based at least partly on our results, a corridor has been established along the coast of the Argentine province of Chubut, where shipping activities have been restricted in order to protect the main migration routes of Magellanic Penguins (PNA Ordenanza 13/98).

Magellanic Penguin dispersal in spring and summer

Magellanic Penguin dispersal in winter (green Falklands, red Isla de los Estados)


Currently, we are investigating in cooperation with Argentine colleagues from CONICET – CADIC, Ushuaia, the foraging ecology of Magellanic Penguins from Isla Martillo and Isla de los Estados with regard to sexual differences in their foraging behaviour and competition with other seabird species. Another project on Hummock Island, Falkland Islands, investigates the foraging ecology of Magellanic Penguins in-situ using newly developed camera loggers.

  • (1) Boersma, P.D., E. Frere, O. Kane, L. Pozzi, K. Pütz, A. Raya Rey, G.A. Rebstock, A. Simeone, J. Smith, A. van Buren, P Yorio & P. Garcia Borboroglu (2013) Magellanic Penguin. Pp 233-263 in: García Borboroglu, P.G. & P.D. Boersma (eds.) Penguins – Natural History and Conservation. University of Washington Press, Seattle U.S.A. ISBN 978-0-295-99284-6
  • (2) Pütz, K., R.J. Ingham, J.G. Smith & J.P. Croxall (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 Biology 24: 793-807
  • (3) Clausen, A.P. & K. Pütz (2002) Recent trends in diet composition and productivity of Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguins in the Falkland Islands. Aquatic Conservation 12: 51-61
  • (4) Otley, H.M., A.P. Clausen, D.J. Christie & K. Pütz (2004) Some aspects of the breeding biology of Magellanic penguins in the Falkland Islands. Waterbirds 27: 396-405
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  • (7) Raya Rey, A., C.A. Bost, A.C. Schiavini & K. Pütz (2010) Foraging movements of Magellanic penguins in the Beagle Channel, Argentina, related to tide and tidal currents. Journal of Ornithology 151: 933-943
  • (8) Rosciano, N., K. Pütz, M.J. Polito & A. Raya Rey (2018) Foraging behaviour of Magellanic Penguins during the early chick rearing period at Isla de los Estados, Argentina. Ibis 160: 327-341
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  • (10) Raya Rey, A., K. Pütz, G. Scioscia, B. Lüthi & A. Schiavini & (2012) Sexual differences in the foraging behaviour of Magellanic Penguins related to stage of breeding. EMU 112(2): 90-96
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  • (15) Simeone, A., L. Hiriart-Betrand, R. Reyes-Arriagada, M. Halpern, J. Dubach, R. Wallace, K. Pütz & B. Lüthi (2009) Heterospecific pairing and hybridization between wild Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins in southern Chile. Condor 111(3): 544-550
  • (16) Raya Rey, A., K. Pütz, L. Hiriart-Bertrand, R. Reyes-Arriagada, V. Riquelme, B. Lüthi & A. Simeone (2013) Comparative foraging behaviour of sympatric breeding Humboldt and Magellanic penguins reveals sex- and species-specific strategies. EMU 113(2): 145-153
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