Post-fledging care in Galápagos Penguins
First observation of post-fledging care in Galápagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)
P.D. Boersma, C.D. Cappello, and G. Merlen
The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 129(1):186-191. 2017.
Until recently, species from all but three families of seabirds were known to give extended parental care, provisioning young after fledging. The exceptions were shearwaters, storm-petrels, and penguins. The Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is now known to feed its young after fledging. This paper adds the Galápagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) to the list, describing five instances of adult provisioning of recently fledged Galápagos Penguin chicks. All feedings were on land and in the afternoon or early evening. Extended parental care is rare in penguins and should occur only if 1) provisioning does not harm adult body condition or conflict with molting, 2) food is available close to the colony, and 3) adults and fledglings return to the nest area after the chicks fledge and before their dispersal from the colony. These requirements suggest it is unlikely that other penguin species commonly feed chicks after they fledge.