Proposal (#22) to South American Classification Committee:

 

Add Eudyptula minor to official SACC list

 

This is a short proposal to add the Little Penguin (=Little Blue
Penguin, Fairy Penguin, Blue Penguin) Eudyptula minor to the list of birds that have occurred in Chile. There are three publications to consider.  First the species was reported in the III Region of Chile. Two or three were reported by fishermen near the island of Pan de Azúcar during the summers of 1990 and 1992. In January of 1995 an individual was sighted on the beaches of Isla Chañaral de Aceituno where it was apparently photographed (Valverde, V. and H. Oyarzo. 1996. Registros de Eudyptula minor (Spheniscidae) en la costa de la region de Atacama, Chile. Bol. Chileno de Ornitología 3: 42-43). The photos are noted to be held by the first author of that paper. Then on March 16, 1997 a "juvenile" penguin was found on the beaches of Santo Domingo in the V Region and brought to a bird rehabilitation center. The bird died after three weeks and was deposited in the collection of the Museo de San Antonio with number MMSA-AV-289. Initially the bird was thought to be a chick of the Humboldt Penguin, but photos were shown at the Penguin conference held in Olmué, Chile in 1998 to various experts and they identified the bird as Eudyptula minor (Brito, J.L. 1999. Segundo registro para Chile del pinguino azul Eudyptula minor Spheniscidae) en la costa de Santo Domingo. Bol. Chileno de Ornitología 6: 45-46.)

 

Then more recently the following was published:

 

Wilson, Rory P., A. Simeone, y P. McGill. 2000. Nota complementaria a la observación de un pinguino azul Eudyptula minor en la costa de Santo Domingo. Bol. Chileno de Ornitología 7: 30-31.

 

The important part of the note is that it mentions that the specimen held at the Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales y Arqueologia de San Antonio was examined. They affirmed the correct identification of the specimen as Eudyptula and that it was an adult in moult, not a juvenile or chick as
noted in Brito 1999. There are other sightings of this species in Chile. Wilson et al suggest that these birds are found on the coast of Chile during their moult, as they cannot swim during these times. They do not discard ship assisted passage, but given that other penguins have shown patterns of vagrancy, I don't know why these cannot be wild individuals. Given that a specimen is present, and has been studied by a penguin expert, I suggest that we should list the species for South America. I could make an effort to get a copy of the photo listed in Valverde and Oyarzo, or even contact Rory Wilson for more information (perhaps a photo of the specimen?). In any case, I feel that this is a good, solid addition to the South American list. regards

 

Alvaro Jaramillo

 

Additional comment from Alvaro:

"A photo has recently been posted on an Internet site dealing with Chilean birds of one of the Little Penguins records from Chile.
Here is the link:

http://aveschilenas.tripod.com/265.htm "