Wednesday 5 November 2008

Adélie & Chinstrap Penguins

More penguins, this time the Adélie (Pygoscelis adeliae) and the chinstrap (P. antarctica).

Adélie penguin
Pygoscelis adeliae (Hombron & Jacquinot, 1841)

Adult Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae)

Distribution: circumpolar (77-54oS); non-breeding distribution not past limit of pack-ice, but vagrant to South America, Australia, New Zealand and sub-Antarctic islands.

Size: 70 cm (27½’’); smallest of the three members of the genus Pygoscelis; males are significantly larger than females, males up to 5.4 kg (12 lb) and females up to 4.7 kg (10 lb).

Habitat: usually heavy pack-ice; breeds on rocky islands, peninsulas, beaches and slopes etc.

Diet: krill, fish and squid.

Etymology: Pygoscelis = “rump leg” in Greek; adeliae = after Jules Dumont d’Urville’s wife Adélie.

Adélie penguin chicks (Pygoscelis adeliae) of different ages

Chinstrap penguin
Pygoscelis antarctica (Forster, 1781)

Adult chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica)

Distribution: circumpolar south of Antarctic Convergence (the area where the cold Antarctic waters meet the warmer northern oceans) to 64oS and sub-Antarctic islands, Cape Horn and Heard Island; non-breeding range poorly known but good dispersers; vagrant to Australia.

Size: 71-76 cm (28-29”); males up to 5.3 kg (11½ lb); females up to 4.5 kg (10 lb).

Habitat: light pack-ice in Weddell Sea, never open water or heavy pack-ice there; breeds on ice-free coasts with steep slopes.

Diet: krill, fish and amphipods.

Etymology: Pygoscelis = as P. adeliae; antarctica = from Antarctica.

Juvenile chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) of different ages

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