Volume 47, No. 1

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Prevalence of three-chick nests in Adelie Penguins Pygoscelis adeliae at Cape Crozier, Ross Island


1Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, 104 Nash Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA *(
2Point Blue Conservation Science, Petaluma, CA 94954, USA
3US Geological Survey, Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, 104 Nash Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA


MORANDINI, V., LESCRÖEL, A., JONGSOMJIT, D., WINQUIST, S., SCHMIDT, A., BALLARD, G., KAPPES, P. & DUGGER, K.M. 2019. Prevalence of three-chick nests in Adelie Penguins Pygoscelis adeliae at Cape Crozier, Ross Island. Marine Ornithology 47: 77 - 80

Received 23 July 2018, accepted 06 December 2018

Date Published: 2019/04/15
Date Online: 2019/02/16
Key words: Antarctica, seabirds, adoption, fostered chicks, twin chicks, coloniality, supra-normal clutches


In 2017/18, we recorded multiple instances of Adelie Penguin Pygoscelis adeliae nests containing three chicks at Cape Crozier, Ross Island, Antarctica. In one sub-colony, 0.67 % of nests had three chicks, or two chicks and one egg. We found that some Adelie Penguin pairs were willing to brood three chicks, as well as chicks that were not their own. Many factors could lead to supra-normal clutches and broods, including foreign eggs added to a nest, adoption of chicks belonging to other parents, and double-yolked eggs. In order to understand the true cost of colonial breeding in large Adelie Penguin colonies and to assess the source of chicks or eggs in supra-normal clutches and broods, we conclude that future studies should examine the frequency of supra-normal clutches and broods and analyze the genetics of chicks within sub-colonies. 


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