Projects in Peru

Short interim report "Breeding success on the Ballestas?

Pisco, Peru, Landau April 20, 2022

In November 2021, Acorema started the project "Breeding success on the Ballestas?" and provided first pictures. The population of the Humboldt penguin on the central Ballestas island (one of three islands) has never been studied before. Because access is difficult and strict protection regulations have to be observed, the surveys are conducted with the help of a drone. A minimum distance of 30 meters from the animals is maintained so that their natural behaviour is not disturbed. The high-resolution images and videos obtained this way are used to document characteristics of the colony such as nesting sites, incubation period, development of the chicks, number of young respectively fledged young birds. The aim is to understand the behaviour of the penguins and the reproductive success of the colony. 

The new and important information can and should be used to influence the management of the archipel (second largest tourist destination in Peru). The research project is supported by the Frankfurt Zoo and the Vogelpark Marlow (see also First pictures of the project "Breeding success on the Ballestas?" on this page and video

In the first nesting phase August-December, 27 nests with fledged young birds were recorded.

From mid-January and throughout February, molting was observed and documented. It appeared that penguins were leaving their nesting sites because they were being displaced by guano boobies (Sula variegata). This is an interesting fact that needs further observation and analysis. In the 2nd nesting phase March-April 2022, however, penguins reoccupied their nests. This was observed mainly in Zone A and actually by pairs that did not have eggs yet. Apparently, this area provides conditions for a better selection of nests.

In the 1st nesting phase, 63 individuals (adults and chicks) were recorded in the nesting area

A and 30 individuals in the nesting area B.

Milagros Ormeno (Acorema), Werner Knauf (Sphenisco)

Translated by Angelika Veelken

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