University of Tasmania

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Diving behaviour of the shy albatross Diomedea cauta in Tasmania: initial findings and dive recorder assessment

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 10:50 authored by Hedd, A, Gales, RP, Brothers, N, Robertson, N
The diving behaviour of the Shy Albatross Diomedea cauta was investigated using archival time-depth recorders (TDRs) and maximum depth gauges (MDGs). Data from birds carrying multiple devices and from diving simulations indicated that the degree of correspondence between TDRs and MDGs varied with the dive depth, duration and frequency, as well as with body placement. The MDGs were the most reliable when the diving depth was greater than 0.5 m, when the diving frequency was low and when gauges were placed on the birds' backs. The TDRs were used during late incubation and early chick rearing in 1994. Fifty-two dives (≤0.4 m) were recorded during 20 foraging trips of 15 individuals. The majority of dives were within the upper 3 m of the water column and lasted for less than 6 s. However, dives to 7.4 m and others lasting 19 s were recorded. The albatrosses dived between 07.00 h and 22.00 h, with peaks in their diving activity near midday and twilight. Mean diving depth varied throughout the day, with the deepest dives occurring between 10.00 h and 12.00 h. Two dive types were identified on the basis of the relationship between dive depth and descent rate. Plunge dives were short (≤5 s), and the birds reached a maximum depth of 2.9 m. Swimming dives were both longer and deeper. The characteristics of Shy Albatross plunge dives were similar to those of gannets Morus spp., which are known to be proficient plunge divers. Swimming dives suggest that Shy Albatrosses actively pursue prey underwater.


Publication title

Ibis: the international journal of avian science








School of Natural Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems

Usage metrics

    University Of Tasmania


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