We investigated foraging behavior of Wandering Albatrosses (Diomedea exulans) breeding at South Georgia to assess how sex and season-specific foraging patterns relate to provisioning performance. We estimated Wandering Albatross chicks require 60–65 kg of food over the chick-rearing period; males deliver 54% of this total. Meal size delivered by both sexes remained essentially constant throughout the post-brooding chick-rearing period, but foraging trip duration varied considerably. Females made consistently longer foraging trips and delivered smaller meals but transported an average load that was 20% heavier in proportion to their body mass than males. We suggest that chick-rearing places greater demands on females compared with males and Wandering Albatrosses work hard to deliver food during the first half of chick rearing (at the expense of their own condition), thereafter reduce their work rate, presumably so as not to compromise their survival.
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