Recoveries of Little Penguins Eudyptula minor banded on Gabo Island, Victoria

Between 1972 and 1987, 4902 Little Penguins Eudyptula minor were banded on Gabo Island, off the eastern Victorian coast; 2261 were adults and 2641 chicks. The 70 reported recoveries of dead banded birds (50 banded as chicks, 20 as adults) found away from Gabo Island are examined here. Most recoveries were of birds reported as beach-washed corpses or dead at sea. Many were to the west of the banding site, found dead along the Victorian coastline or beyond: others had moved north to the southern coast of New South Wales, whilst some birds were found in Tasmania. Whilst average distances moved from Gabo Island to the recovery location were similar for birds banded as adults or chicks (295 and 319 km, respectively), the mean elapsed time differed (39 and 8 months, respectively) and the distance moved for banded chicks was significantly correlated with elapsed time. The pattern shown by the locations of these recoveries is consistent with the view that dispersal from the breeding colony is towards areas of enhanced food availability.

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