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Causes of Nest Desertion during Incubation in the Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)

Pablo Yorio and P. Dee Boersma
The Condor
Vol. 96, No. 4 (Nov., 1994), pp. 1076-1083
DOI: 10.2307/1369116
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1369116
Page Count: 8
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Causes of Nest Desertion during Incubation in the Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus)
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Abstract

We quantified the causes and rate of nest desertions in Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) during the egg stage at Punta Tombo, Argentina. Incubating Magellanic Penguins rarely deserted. The average desertion rate during seven years was 11% (SD = 9.2%). Desertions were poorly correlated with the length of the incubation spell and only 25% of the desertion could be accounted for by delayed nest relief. Body condition at the start of the incubation spell appears to be the most important factor in determining desertions. Penguins that deserted were lighter for their body size at the time of egg laying than penguins that did not desert. Desertion was significant and common during the first part of incubation, the time when females are present. Flooded nests were more likely to be deserted than nonflooded nests, but desertions from flooding were few. High temperatures did not increase desertion during incubation, thus it is unlikely that heat stress is an important cause of nest desertion. An individual's body condition appears to be the most important factor in explaining desertion but behavior of the mate and other factors can play a role.

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