Penguin Wiki


Adélie Penguin
Scientific Name: Pygoscelis adeliae
World Conservation Union
Status: Least Concern
Height: From 30–50 cm (12–20 in)
Weight: Up to 4.5 kg (10 lbs)
Location: There are 38 colonies of Adelie penguins, and there are over 5 million Adelies in the Ross Sea Region. Ross Island supports a colony of approximately half a million Adélie penguins.
Feathers: They have distinctive markssuch as white rings surrounding the eye, and feathers at the base of the bill. Also, the Adélie has a longer tail than most other penguins.
Beak: The bill is red, and mostly hidden by feathers.

The Adélie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a type of penguin common along the entire Antarctic coast and nearby islands. They are one of the most southerly distributed of all seabirds. In 1830, French explorer Dumont d'Urville named them for his wife, Adélie.


There are 38 colonies of Adélie penguins, and there are over 5 million Adélies in the Ross Sea Region.

Ross Island supports a colony of approximately half a million Adélie penguins.


Adélie Penguins at Cape Adare

These penguins are about 30 to 50 cm (12 to 20 in) in length and 4.5 kg (10 lbs) in weight. Distinctive marks are the white ring surrounding the eye and the feathers at the base of the bill. These long feathers hide most of the red bill. The tail is a little longer than other penguins' tails.


Like all penguins, the Adélie Penguin is highly social, foraging and nesting in groups.


Although winter data is lacking, the Adélie penguin is known to feed mainly on Antarctic krill during the chick-rearing season, supplemented by Antarctic silverfish and glacial squid. The stable isotope record of fossil eggshell accumulated in colonies over the last 38,000 years reveals a sudden change from a fish-based diet to krill that started two hundred years ago. This is most likely due to the decline of the Antarctic fur seal since the late 1700s and baleen whales in the twentieth century. The reduction of competition from these predators has resulted in a surplus of krill, which the penguins now exploit as an easier source of food. Their diet makes their babies red. Adélie Penguin colonies can be seen because of their red babies.


Mating Adélie Penguins
in Antarctica

Adélie Penguins arrive at their breeding grounds in October. Their nests consist of stones piled together. Sometimes the competition for breeding sites gets so fierce that mothers will steal stones from neighbors' nests. The males summon the females with a low guttural noise followed by a loud cry. A female typically lays two eggs which are brown or green in color. In December, the warmest month in Antarctica (about -2°C), the parents take turns incubating the egg; one goes to feed and the other stays to warm the egg. The parent who is incubating does not eat. In March, the adults and their young return to the sea. The Adélie penguin lives on sea ice but needs the ice-free land to breed. With a reduction in sea ice and a scarcity of food, populations of the Adélie penguin have dropped by 65% over the past 25 years.

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