As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Penguin chicks huddle up for heat, protection

Location, environment influence when gentoo penguin chicks huddle

Date: February 3, 2016
Source: PLOS

Brown Bluff-2016-Tabarin Peninsula–Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) 03.jpgLocation and environmental conditions may influence when gentoo chicks huddle in cold, wet Antarctic conditions, according to a study published February 3, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Caitlin Black from the University of Oxford, and colleagues.

Many penguin species form aggregations for conserving heat, providing protection, and other purposes. Scientists have observed gentoo penguins aggregating during the post-guard period, a period when the parents leave the chicks without waterproof feathers daily to go find fish, but these aggregations have never been studied over a large spatial range in the Antarctic. The authors of this study observed the gentoo penguin aggregation behavior across four study sites along a latitudinal gradient. To examine the adaptive benefit of aggregations, they observed each colony during the post-guarding period of the 2012-2013 breeding season using time-lapse cameras.

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