Turkey and Penguin Research

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Turkey and Penguin Research
From: Laurie&Leanne Knight <>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 18:45:37 +1000
I came across the following articles while poking about this morning ...

Australian Journal of Zoology, 2002, 50, 93?102

Pecking preferences in hatchlings of the Australian brush-turkey, Alectura
lathami (Megapodiidae): the role of food type and colour

Ann Göth A and Heather Proctor
Australian School of Environmental Studies, Griffith University,
Brisbane, Nathan, Qld 4111, Australia.
A To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email: 


Chicks of megapodes, including the Australian brush-turkey, Alectura lathami,
live independently, without parents to show them where and what to eat. This
paper represents the first investigation of how megapode chicks find and
identify food.
The specific questions addressed are: whether naive brush-turkey hatchlings are
able to differentiate between food and objects that do not give a nutritional
reward; whether they possess a preference for certain types of food; and which
factors are most likely to trigger feeding in hatchlings.

The three questions were approached by pairwise choice tests of two types. In
Type 1, chicks were offered mealworm larvae, fruit cubes, seeds and
non-nutritious objects (pebbles); in Type 2, chicks were offered beads of four
different colours
(red, green, blue and yellow). The median peck rate at pebbles was always
significantly lower than that at mealworms, fruit or seeds. Mealworms received
significantly more pecks than seeds or pebbles. Chicks showed no clear
preference for any colour. All chicks also directed some pecks at ?other items?
that appeared to display a strong contrast against the background of the box
they were kept in, either in colour (e.g. dark knotholes in light brown wood) or
in shape (three-dimensional, such as claws and faeces). Hatchlings seem to
direct their initial pecks at objects that have certain characteristics in
common, such as contrast, movement (for live prey) and reflective surfaces (for
fruit or seeds). Preference for these rather general characteristics may be
adaptive considering that chicks can hatch in various habitats and different
months of the year, making the types of food available at hatching 

Foraging Areas of King Penguins from Macquarie Island in Relation to a Marine
Protected Area


Australian Antarctic Division
Channel Highway
Kingston TAS 7050, Australia

ABSTRACT / Twenty-three king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) from Macquarie
Island were tracked by satellite during the late incubation period in 1998?1999
to determine the overlap of the foraging zone of king penguins with an area to 
declared a marine protected area (MPA) near the island. While all penguins left
the colony in an easterly direction and traveled clockwise back to the island,
three penguins foraged in the northern parts of the general foraging area and
stayed north of 56°S. The remaining 20 penguins ventured south and most crossed
59°S before returning to the island. The total foraging area was estimated to be
156,000 km2 with 36,500 km2 being most important (where penguins spent _150 hr
in total). North-foraging penguins reached on average 331 _ 24 km from the
colony compared to 530 _ 76 km for the south-foraging penguins.

The latter traveled an average total distance of 1313 _ 176 km, while the
northern foragers averaged 963 _ 166 km. Not only did the penguins spend the
majority of their foraging time within the boundaries of the proposed MPA, they
also foraged chiefly within the boundaries of a highly protected zone. Thus, the
MPA is likely to encompass the foraging zone of king penguins, at least during 
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