An ongoing challenge in marine top predator research is understanding processes that are responsible for patterns that are often derived from land-based access to individuals. The use of animal-borne camera loggers, however, is proving useful in this regard as researchers can directly observe species and habitat-associated interactions. During an ongoing study investigating the foraging ecology of gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) at the Falkland Islands, we observed the first attempted underwater intraspecific kleptoparasitism event for a penguin. This was revealed through a bird deployed with an animal-borne camera logger. Although unsuccessful in its attempt, the new reported behaviour highlights a novel interaction and further demonstrates the value of cameras in better understanding the ecology of marine vertebrates.
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This project was possible through support of Falklands Conservation. Generous funding support came from the Rufford Small Grants Foundation, Falkland Islands Environmental Planning Department and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Research Capacity Department. Additional stipends were provided by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. We are grateful to Jan Cheek and wardens of Johnsons Harbour for access to the study colony. We are extremely thankful to the volunteers who assisted with sample collection. Additionally, the guidance from two anonymous reviewers greatly improved the manuscript.
Pierre Pistorius was a past employee in Falklands Conservation, Falkland Islands.
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Handley, J.M., Pistorius, P. Kleptoparasitism in foraging gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua . Polar Biol 39, 391–395 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-015-1772-2