Breeding strategies of two closely related fulmarine petrels were studied on Ardery Island, on the continental coast of East Antarctica, where short summers are expected to narrow the time-window for reproduction. Both species had a similar breeding period (97 days from laying to fledging) but Antarctic Petrels Thalassoica antarctica bred up to 16 days earlier than Southern Fulmars. During the pre-laying exodus, all Antarctic Petrels deserted the colony, whereas some Southern Fulmars Fulmarus glacialoides remained. Antarctic Petrels exhibited stronger synchronization in breeding, made longer foraging trips and spent less time guarding their chicks than Southern Fulmars. Overall breeding success of both species was similar but failures of Antarctic Petrels were concentrated in the early egg-phase and after hatching, when parents ceased guarding. Southern Fulmars lost eggs and chicks later in the breeding cycle and so wasted more parental investment in failed breeding attempts. Different breeding strategies may be imposed by flight characteristics; Southern Fulmars are less capable of crossing large expanses of pack ice and need to delay breeding until the sea ice retreats and breaks up. However, due to the short summer they risk chick failure when weather conditions deteriorate late in the season.
- windmill islands
- ice conditions