The importance of fine-scale landscape characteristics for habitat selection in penguins

Diane Colombelli-Négrel, Larissa Iasiello

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Investigating the ecology of a species and the spatial requirements needed for their survival within an environment can improve and help develop conservation measures. In this study, we reviewed the literature describing the importance of fine-scale landscape characteristics on the distribution of penguin species. We then investigated little penguin nest-site use across eleven colonies in South Australia, with a focus on nest type, vegetation cover, nest entrance orientation, proximity to the nearest active nest, and side of the island. We showed that both abiotic and biotic variables were important for nest-site use in penguins and that the specific variables varied between species and populations. Little penguins in South Australia did not appear to use nest sites randomly, and active nests were mostly found on the northern side of the island and facing east or west. Our study highlights the importance of gaining a better understanding of penguin nest-site use, and their fitness consequences for populations, to ensure effective conservation outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1369-1401
Number of pages33
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number4
Early online date28 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Habitat use
  • Nest characteristics
  • Proximity to conspecifics
  • Seabirds
  • Vegetation


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