GPS loggers and time-depth recorders were used to characterize the foraging behavior of the sexually dimorphic Peruvian booby Sula variegata on 2 islands in northern Peru. We evaluated whether (1) its foraging behavior differed from tropical boobies and temperate gannets (the Peruvian boobies feed in areas of enhanced productivity and high fish density), and (2) females and males exploited different foraging habitats as a consequence of size dimorphism. Birds foraged only during daylight hours, 1 to 3 times a day, in trips of short duration (median = 1.8 h). Overall, 92% of the total foraging time was spent flying. They fed exclusively on anchovetas Engraulis ringens, which were captured in shallow dives (median = 2.5 m, max = 8.8 m) with a dive median rate of 11 dives h–1 (max = 37 dives h–1). The median foraging range was 25 km (max = 68 km), whereas the median total distance traveled was 69 km (max = 179 km). Foraging site fidelity was high, and the orientation of foraging flights in any given day was similar among birds that departed at the same time. There were no sex-specific differences in 13 of 15 foraging variables; however, females dived slightly deeper and spent a larger proportion of time sitting on the water. We speculate that (1) the foraging behavior of Peruvian boobies contrasts with that of their tropical and temperate relatives as a result of the proximity and predictability of food sources, elevated energetic demands of the brood (up to 4 chicks) and high prey encounter rate in the Peruvian upwelling system, and (2) the lack of spatial segregation between sexes may be related to the attraction of birds to feeding aggregations that are formed in the vicinity of the colonies. Once the foraging patches are localized, females dive deeper because of passive mechanisms associated with a heavier mass.
Due to incorrect date/time or coordinates, the following records in the original data sheets were removed: Bird ID 507 11:15:46, 3/8/2000, -80.821548, -7.104937 11:15:49, 13/08/2019, -80.8215, -7.105124 11:15:50, 13/08/2019, -80.821498, -7.105203 11:18:07, 13/08/2019, -80.815599, -7.10751 11:18:08, 13/08/2019, -80.815574, -7.107587 16:00:11, 5/1/2018, -80.779896, -7.11839 16:58:54, 5/4/2025, -80.760566, -167.071 16:09:57, 5/4/2025, -80.75794, -7.110085
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Time of observation in UTC
Date of observation
Speed in km/h
Longitude in decimal degrees
Latitude in decimal degrees
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