Functional significance of sexual dimorphism in wandering albatrosses, Diomedea exulans

  title={Functional significance of sexual dimorphism in wandering albatrosses, Diomedea exulans},
  author={Scott A. Shaffer and Henri Weimerskirch and Daniel P. Costa},
  journal={Functional Ecology},
Summary 1. The investigation covered whether sexual dimorphism could affect flight performance in a manner that is consistent with differences in at-sea distribution of male and female Wandering Albatrosses, Diomedea exulans Linnaeus. Adult morphology was also compared to near-fledged chicks to assess whether morphological differences are consistent with different at-sea distributions of adults and fledglings. 2. Body girth, mass, wing span and area were measured on 24 females (16 adults and 8… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Sexual Size Dimorphism and Body Condition in the Australasian Gannet

There was no significant difference in TBF(%) between the sexes for any stage of breeding or in any year of the study at either colony suggesting that, despite a greater body mass, females were not in a better condition than males.

Growth and energy expenditure of Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans chicks

The decrease in absolute RMR following attainment of peak mass is atypical of most seabird chicks (Procellariiformes) and may be explained partly by a reduction in size of the gut when parents reduce provisioning effort.

Sexual Dimorphism and Foraging Trips of the Laysan Albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis) on Guadalupe Island

The results suggest that both sexes show a strong preference to travel to highly productive coastal waters northeast of the breeding colony that are influenced by the California Current, which will help protect this species on Guadalupe Island.

Chick-rearing Crozet shags (Phalacrocorax melanogenis) display sex-specific foraging behaviour

Evidence suggests body size is not sufficient to explain so many differences in foraging ecology, and it is proposed prey size could be an essential factor in shaping the male/female behavioural segregation in the Crozet shag.

Sex-Based Differences in Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) Chick Growth Rates and Diet

Investigating differences in growth rate and diet between male and female Adélie Penguin chicks during two breeding seasons at Cape Crozier, Ross Island, Antarctica determined that male chicks were fed a higher proportion of fish than female chicks, and the related differences in provisioning and growth rates provides a greater understanding of the ways in which ecological factors may impact the two sexes differently.

Sex determination and sexual size-dimorphism in Southern Giant-Petrels (Macronectes giganteus) from Patagonia, Argentina

Bill-length alone was sufficient to predict sex of adults and fledglings and can thus serve as a simple and effective tool for sexing Southern Giant-Petrels.

Sex-specific foraging behaviour in a seabird with reversed sexual dimorphism: the red-footed booby

Foraging differences are probably the reason for the differential breeding investment observed in boobies, and are likely to be involved in the evolution and maintenance of RSD.

Assortative mating, sexual size dimorphism and sex determination in a seabird with plumage polymorphism

It is suggested that plumage colours may be sexually selected in Trindade petrels, which brings evolutionary implications on the persistence of plumage polymorphism.

Flexible foraging behaviour of a sexually dimorphic seabird: Large males do not always dive deep

The results suggest that body size dimorphism and the avoidance of inter-sexual competition for food are involved in the evolution of sex-related differences in foraging in this species.



Development and maturation of plumage in the wandering albatross Diomedea exulans

The possible adaptive significance of the slow maturation in the plumage of the wandering albatross is discussed and of the differences in plumage between sexes and between populations are discussed.


Investigation of fitness consequences of variation in parent provisioning behavior and chick growth in a sexually dimorphic seabird indicates that the optimal age-related investment by parents varies between males and females but also depends to a large degree on whether they are rearing a son or a daughter.

Population Dynamics of the Wandering Albatross, Diomedea exulans, of the Crozet Islands: Causes and Consequences of the Population Decline

Between 1966 and 1985 breeding populations of wandering albatrosses on three islands of the Crozet group decreased at annual rates of 2.6, 4.9 and 6%, but with a rapid decline, at all except one

The adaptive significance of parental role division and sexual size dimorphism in breeding shorebirds

Sexual size dimorphism among 57 species in the shorebird family Scolopacidae is evaluated in relation to parental role division during breeding in order to attain high parental efficiency for energetic reasons, because smaller individuals need less energy to maintain themselves.

Seasonal changes in the provisioning behaviour and mass of male and female wandering albatrosses in relation to the growth of their chick

The results of the study suggest that provisioning effort of wandering albatrosses is adjusted by parents in relation to the availability of food, to the energetic needs of the chick and to the sex of the kid, suggesting that energy may be used differently between the sexes to maximise fitness.

The measurement of overall body size in birds

--We compared a number of univariate and multivariate measures of body size used commonly in ornithological research, including eight multivariate measures (from principal components analyses), plus

Patterns of sexual size dimorphism in seabirds of the Southern Hemisphere

A review of published data on 99 populations (60 species) of seabirds shows that the degree of sexual size dimorphism varies considerably among species, with males larger than females in some species


Although Wandering Albatrosses are able to provision their chicks at a rapid rate because of the proximity of an abundant resource, birds still have to forage far from the colony to restore their body condition and estimates of energy yield explain this paradox.

Satellite tracking of wandering albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) in the South Atlantic

The movements of two wandering albatrosses, one of each sex, breeding at South Georgia, were tracked using satellite telemetry, particularly to assess whether such birds could be at risk from

Reproductive effort in long-lived birds : age-specific patterns of condition, reproduction and survival in the wandering albatross

It is suggested that in a very long-lived bird like the wandering albatross survival is not influenced by reproduction, particularly in the early ages because the onset of breeding is delayed until the risk of an increased mortality at first breeding has disappeared.