We examined the thermoregulatory behaviour (TRB) of roosting Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) in north central Chile during summer and winter, when ambient temperatures (Ta) are most extreme. Each body posture was considered to represent a particular TRB, which was ranked in a sequence that reflected different degrees of thermal load and was assigned an arbitrary thermoregulatory score. During summer, birds exhibited eight different TRBs, mainly oriented to heat dissipation, and experienced a wide range of Ta (from 14 to 31°C), occasionally above their thermoneutral zone (TNZ, from 2 to 30°C), this being evident by observations of extreme thermoregulatory responses such as panting. In winter, birds exhibited only three TRBs, mainly oriented to heat retention, and experienced a smaller range of Ta (from 11 to 18°C), always within the TNZ, even at night. The components of behavioural responses increased directly with the heat load which explains the broader behavioural repertoire observed in summer. Since penguins are primarily adapted in morphology and physiology to cope with low water temperatures, our results suggest that behavioural thermoregulation may be important in the maintenance of the thermal balance in Humboldt penguins while on land.
Áreas temáticas de ASJC Scopus
- Animales y zoología