Breeding of little penguins (Eudyptula minor), including multiple brooding, at South Bay, Kaikōura, New Zealand, 2006–2017
|Title||Breeding of little penguins (Eudyptula minor), including multiple brooding, at South Bay, Kaikōura, New Zealand, 2006–2017|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Rowe, LK, Weir, JS, Judkins, AG|
|Type of Article||Full Article|
|Keywords||breeding success, double brooding, Eudyptula minor, little penguin, triple brooding|
For 11 breeding seasons, a colony of little penguins (Eudyptula minor) was monitored at South Bay, Kaikōura. The 106 breeding attempts from 86 pairings consisted of 68 single clutches, eight attempts made up four replacement clutches (an unsuccessful original clutch followed by a second clutch by a pair in one season), 26 attempts consisting of 13 double broods (a successful original clutch followed by a second clutch by a pair in one season), and one complex triple brood (three successful attempts by a penguin in one season, the triple brood, plus another successful attempt by its first mate after separation). The earliest laying date was 18 April for multiple brooders and 12 August for single clutch pairs. Single clutch pairs raised a mean of 1.42 fledglings/clutch. Four pairs with first clutch failures laid replacement clutches; one was successful. Seven of the 13 pairs of double brooders successfully raised the second clutch; the productivity of the 13 pairs was 2.69 fledglings/pair. The first record of a successful triple brood by little penguins was complex in that the female separated from her mate after the first brood chicks fledged, and then completed her second and third broods with a different male. Her original mate also produced a further brood with another female to complete his double brood. These four clutches laid eight eggs of which seven hatched and six chicks fledged. This may also be the first reported multiple brood with a change of mate after a successful first brood. On a colony-wide basis productivity per season was 2.36 eggs/pair, 1.80 chicks/pair, and 1.66 fledglings/pair. Previous research indicated Kaikōura birds belonged to the New Zealand Only (NZO) clade of little penguins. As double brooding and rafting are traits of the Australia and south east New Zealand (ASENZ) clade only, this classification is now questionable suggesting a mix of both clades and/or hybrids.