Effects of attached data-loggers on the activity budgets of captive humboldt penguins

Alejandro Simeone, Rory P. Wilson, Gabriele Knauf, Werner Knauf, Jeannine Schützendübe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Although they can provide valuable information on at-sea ecology, data-loggers may adversely affect energetics, diving performance, and breeding success of equipped birds. With the aim of determining the effects of leg-attached data-loggers on the activity budgets of Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) while on land, we equipped birds kept at the Landau Zoo, Landau, Germany, with such devices. We followed them during sample periods and recorded the occurrence and length of behaviors. Birds quickly habituated to the devices within 1 day of deployment, and mean rates of device-pecking were low (0.7-1.7 pecks/ hr), with device-induced behaviors accounting for <1% of the mean daily activity budget. The method of device attachment appears behaviorally less stressful than the traditional tape-based system in which devices are normally attached to the penguin's back. By facilitating the testing of newly developed data-loggers on captive birds, or the development of methods for device attachment, zoos and aquaria may strengthen their role in animal conservation by helping research on free-ranging animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalZoo Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • Activity budget
  • Data-loggers
  • Device effects
  • Humboldt penguin
  • Spheniscus humboldti

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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