The Magellanic Penguin population, too, has fluctuated significantly over the years. Along the South American coast numbers have been increasing at some sites and decreasing at others (1). Breeding pair numbers on the Falklands have fallen substantially over the past several decades, but we still don’t know why. We have researched the general breeding biology of Magellanics in the Falklands (2) as well as their population trends and their diet (3,4). In addition, the feeding areas of Magellanics have been studied during the breeding season (5) and in winter (6) using satellite telemetry. Comparative studies were conducted on Isla Martillo in the Beagle Channel, Argentina (7,8,9,10,11,12,13, 14), on Isla de los Estados, Argentina (15, 16,17) and on Islotas Punihuil in Chile, where Magellanic Penguins occur together with Humboldt Penguins (18,19,20,21). As a result, it has been suggested that mortality rates have increased due to commercial fishing activities (22) and pollution not only in the Falklands but also in the summer foraging and wintering areas along the South American coast (23).

Magellanic Penguin dispersal in spring and summer

Magellanic Penguin dispersal in winter (green Falklands, red Isla de los Estados)


Currently, we are continuing our cooperation with Argentine colleagues from CONICET – CADIC, Ushuaia, investigating the foraging ecology of Magellanic Penguins from Isla Martillo and Isla de los Estados, Argentina, and Hummock Island, Falkland Islands, using newly developed camera loggers to study their foraging behaviour in-situ.

  • (1) Boersma, P.D., E. Frere, O. Kane, L. Pozzi, K. Pütz, A. Raya Rey, G.A. Rebstock, A. Simeone, J. Smith, A. van Buren, P Yorio & P. Garcia Borboroglu (2013) Magellanic Penguin. Pp 233-263 in: García Borboroglu, P.G. & P.D. Boersma (eds.) Penguins – Natural History and Conservation. University of Washington Press, Seattle U.S.A. ISBN 978-0-295-99284-6
  • (2) Otley, H.M., A.P. Clausen, D.J. Christie & K. Pütz (2004) Some aspects of the breeding biology of Magellanic penguins in the Falkland Islands. Waterbirds 27: 396-405
  • (3) Pütz, K., R.J. Ingham, J.G. Smith & J.P. Croxall (2001) Population trends, breeding success and diet composition of gentoo Pygoscelis papua, magellanic Spheniscus magellanicus and rockhopper Eudyptes chrysocome penguins in the Falkland Islands. Polar Biology 24: 793-807
  • (4) Clausen, A.P. & K. Pütz (2002) Recent trends in diet composition and productivity of Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper Penguins in the Falkland Islands. Aquatic Conservation 12: 51-61
  • (5) Pütz, K., R.J. Ingham & J.G. Smith (2002) Foraging movements of Magellanic Penguins Spheniscus magellanicus during the breeding season in the Falkland Islands. Aquatic Conservation 12: 75-87
  • (6) Pütz, K., R.J. Ingham & J.G. Smith (2000) Satellite tracking of the winter migration of Magellanic Penguins Spheniscus magellanicus breeding in the Falkland Islands. Ibis 142: 614-622
  • (7) Raya Rey, A., C.A. Bost, A.C. Schiavini & K. Pütz (2010) Foraging movements of Magellanic penguins in the Beagle Channel, Argentina, related to tide and tidal currents. Journal of Ornithology 151: 933-943
  • (8) Pütz, K., A. Schiavini, A. Raya Rey & B.H. Lüthi (2007) Winter migration of magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) from the southernmost distributional range. Marine Biology 152: 1227-1235
  • (9) Raya Rey, A., K. Pütz, G. Scioscia, B. Lüthi & A. Schiavini & (2012) Sexual differences in the foraging behaviour of Magellanic Penguins related to stage of breeding. EMU 112(2): 90-96
  • (10) Dodino, S., L. Riccialdelli, M.J. Polito, K. Pütz & A. Raya Rey (2020) Inter-annual variation in the trophic niche of Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus during the pre moult period at Martillo Island, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Marine Ecology Progress Series 655: 215-225
  • (11) Harris, S., G. Scioscia, K. Pütz, T. Mattern & A. Raya Rey (2020) Niche partitioning between coexisting Gentoo Pygoscelis papua and Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus at Martillo Island, Argentina. Marine Biology 167: 105
  • (12) Dodino, S., N. Lois, L. Riccialdelli, M. Polito, K. Pütz & A. Raya Rey (2021) Sex-specific spatial use of the winter foraging areas by Magellanic penguins and assessment of potential conflicts with fisheries during winter dispersal. PLoS ONE 16(8): e0256339.
  • (13) Harris, S., K. Pütz, T. Mattern, G. Scioscia & A. Raya Rey (2023) The role of conspecifics during pelagic foraging of Magellanic and benthic foraging of Gentoo penguins in the Beagle Channel, Argentina. Marine Biology 170: 17
  • (14) Dodino, S., L. Riccialdelli, M.J. Polito, K. Pütz & A. Raya Rey (2023) Variation in the trophic niche and food provisioning between the early and late chick-rearing stages in Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus at Martillo Island, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Marine Biology 170: 96.
  • (15) Rosciano, N., K. Pütz, M.J. Polito & A. Raya Rey (2018) Foraging behaviour of Magellanic Penguins during the early chick rearing period at Isla de los Estados, Argentina. Ibis 160: 327-341
  • (16) Dodino, S., L. Riccialdelli, M. Polito, K. Pütz, A. Raya Rey (2022) Intraspecific trophic variation during the early chick-rearing period in Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus: influence of age and colony. Marine Biology 169: 116
  • (17) Dodino, S., L. Riccialdelli, M.J. Polito, K. Pütz, R.L. Brasso & A. Raya Rey (2022) Mercury exposure driven by geographic and trophic factors in Magellanic Penguins from Tierra del Fuego. Marine Pollution Bulletin 174: 113184
  • (18) Hiriart-Bertrand, L., A. Simeone, R. Reyes-Arriagada, V. Riquelme, K. Pütz & B. Lüthi (2010) Description of a mixed-species colony of Humboldt (Spheniscus humboldti) and Magallanic Penguins (S. magellanicus) at Metalqui Island, Chiloé, southern Chile. Boletín Chileno de Ornitologia 16(1): 42-47
  • (19) Simeone, A., L. Hiriart-Betrand, R. Reyes-Arriagada, M. Halpern, J. Dubach, R. Wallace, K. Pütz & B. Lüthi (2009) Heterospecific pairing and hybridization between wild Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins in southern Chile. Condor 111(3): 544-550
  • (20) Raya Rey, A., K. Pütz, L. Hiriart-Bertrand, R. Reyes-Arriagada, V. Riquelme, B. Lüthi & A. Simeone (2013) Comparative foraging behaviour of sympatric breeding Humboldt and Magellanic penguins reveals sex- and species-specific strategies. EMU 113(2): 145-153
  • (21) Pütz, K., A. Raya Rey, L. Hiriart-Bertrand, A. Simeone, R. Reyes-Arriagada & B. Lüthi (2016) Post-moult movements of sympatrically breeding Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins in south-central Chile. Global Ecology and Conservation 7: 49-58
  • (22) Pütz, K., L. Hiriart-Bertrand, A. Simeone, V. Riquelme, R. Reyes-Arriagada & B. Lüthi (2011) Entanglement and drowning of a Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) in a gill net recorded by a time-depth recorder in southern Chile. Waterbirds 34(1): 121-125
  • (23) Trathan, P.N., P. García-Borboroglu, P.D. Boersma, C.A. Bost, R.J.M. Crawford, G.T. Crossin, R.J. Cuthbert, P. Dann, L.S. Davis, S. de la Puente, U. Ellenberg, H.J. Lynch, T. Mattern, K. Pütz, P.J. Seddon, W. Trivelpiece & B. Wienecke (2014) Pollution, habitat loss, fishing and climate change as critical threats to penguins. Conservation Biology 29(1): 31-41