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Skua and Penguin
Predator and Prey


Part of Studies in Polar Research

  • Date Published: August 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521018135

£ 60.00

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About the Authors
  • Areas of barren rock and scree around the edge of Antarctica provide a breeding ground for two of the continent's most well-known species of bird: the south polar skua and the Adélie penguin. This book considers the relationship between these two species, taking as its study site Ross Island. Through detailed observations of the foraging ecology of the skua, the traditional view that skuas are totally dependent on penguin eggs and chicks for food is challenged. In addition, studies of the impact of skuas on penguin breeding and the extent to which the skua breeding cycle is functionally related to that of the penguin provide further evidence to suggest that the two species occur together independently as a consequence of limited breeding space, rather than as a result of a distinct predator-prey relationship.

    • This is the first detailed, long-term study of the relationship between these two birds which occupy the same Antarctic habitat
    • The results of the study are surprising in that they overthrow the widely-held view of the relationship between the two birds
    • The results will therefore be of great interest to all ornithologists and to ecologists interested in predator/prey relationships
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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521018135
    • length: 472 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 25 mm
    • weight: 0.77kg
    • contains: 97 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The study area. Ross Island and the Cape Bird penguin colonies
    3. The range of foods available to the skuas at Cape Bird during the breeding season
    4. The biomass of penguin eggs and chicks on the Northern Colony
    5. Factors of penguin biology that constrain or assist skua predation
    6. Description of scavenging and predatory behaviour of skuas and the defensive behaviour of penguins
    7. The diversity and intensity of skua foraging behaviour on the penguin colony
    8. The amount of food taken by the skuas from the penguin colony
    9. The costs and returns of foraging at the colony and at sea
    10. Immediate impact of the contestants on each other
    11. Appreciating the penguins
    12. Associating together. The longer term implications
    13. Synthesis

  • Author

    Euan Young, University of Auckland

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