Facts on Adélie Penguins

Facts on Adélie Penguins

1. Adélie penguins are named after Adelie Land, an area in Antarctica claimed by the French.
A largest super colony of Adélie penguins was found on the Danger Islands in 2018, thought to be home to about 1.5 million individuals.

2. The Pygoscelis of the Adélie penguin binomial name means “rump-legged.”

3. Adélie penguins follow the sun around the Antarctic, since the winter sun never entirely sets.
Some Adelie penguin migrations have been recorded as being as long as 17,600 km (10,940 miles).
Adélie penguins breed and raise their young on the continent of Antarctica. In September and October - springtime in that part of the world - thousands of Adélies gather on the rocky Antarctic shoreline. The huge gatherings are called colonies.

4. Adélie penguins build nests by scooping out areas in the ground. The female usually lays two eggs in the nest. Adélie penguin eggs hatch in December.

5. In the Antarctic winter, the Adélie penguins live at sea. Both parents care for the eggs. While one stays behind keeping the eggs warm and safe from predators, the other parent heads out to sea to eat.

6. Parents take turns caring for their youngsters after they hatch until the chicks are about three weeks old. At that point, both parents may leave to forage for food while the chicks gather in the safety of a large group of other young penguins. These groups of young Adélies are called crèches.

7. By March, when Adélie chicks are about nine weeks old, their downy baby feathers have been replaced by waterproof adult feathers. They plunge into the sea, and start hunting for food on their own.

8. Like other penguin species, Adélies are excellent swimmers. They're powerful and graceful in the water, with torpedo-shaped bodies that pierce through the water. Their modified wings help propel them through water instead of air. These birds are swimmers, not fliers.

9. The Adélie Penguin lives along the coastline and the small islands of the Antarctic continent. It breeds in rocky, ice-free coastal areas. When the sea freezes in the winter, they travel north and forage in the open ocean. Warming of the air and ocean is causing a decline in the West Antarctic Peninsula colonies.

10. Adélie penguins are the smallest and most widespread penguin in the Antarctic. They are fantastic foragers, feasting mainly on krill, and feisty little creatures known for stealing pebbles from their neighbour’s nest!

11. Adélie penguins are named after Adéle d’Urville, the wife of the French Antarctic explorer Dumont d’Urville.

12. In comparison to other penguin species, Adélie penguins are mid-sized, ranging from 18 to 28 in (46–71 cm) in height and weighing 7.9 to 13.2 lb (3.6–6 kg).

13. Adélie penguins have the characteristic black and white plumage familiar to all penguins, but the distinguishing feature is the white ring around the eye and red bill.

14. Adélie penguins do not have teeth, but instead, have tooth-shaped barbs on their tongue and roof of their mouth that assist in swallowing prey.

15. Adélie penguins are efficient hunters and can eat up to 4.5 lb (2 kg) of food in one day.

16. Adélie Penguins spend October to February (the Antarctic summer months) breeding in rocky, ice-free coastal areas.

17. Females lay two eggs a couple of days apart and both parents take turns incubating them for around 35 days. While one is incubating the egg, the other goes on feeding trips for up to 10 days at a time.

18. Young Adélie penguins can fend for themselves at around 2 - 3 months old.

19. They feast mainly on krill, tiny shrimplike animals, but also eat fish and squid.

20. They have a thick layer of fat to keep them warm in cold climates, and feathers provide a waterproof coating. The feet are strong and webbed with nails that assist with climbing and sliding; they are pink in colour.

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