Adélie Penguin
Kingdom
Phylum
Class
Family
Genus
SPECIES
Pygoscelis adeliae
Population size
7,580,000
Life Span
10-20 years
Top speed
30-40
18.6-24.8
km/hmph
km/h mph 
Weight
3-6
6.6-13.2
kglbs
kg lbs 
Height
46-71
18.1-28
cminch
cm inch 
Length
70
28
cminch
cm inch 

The Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a species of penguin common along the entire coast of the Antarctic continent. This is the only place where it is found. It is the most widespread penguin species, and, along with the Emperor penguin, is the most southerly distributed of all penguins. It is named after Adélie Land, in turn, named for Adèle Dumont d'Urville, who was married to French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville, who first discovered this penguin in 1840.

Di

Diurnal

Ca

Carnivore

Mo

Molluscivore

Pi

Piscivores

Se

Semiaquatic

Fl

Flightless bird

Al

Altricial

Na

Natatorial

Te

Terrestrial

Co

Congregatory

Ov

Oviparous

Pr

Predator

Mo

Monogamy

Co

Colonial

Hi

Highly social

Mi

Migrating

A

starts with

Appearance

Adélie penguins of both sexes look the same but females have shorter wings and beaks and weigh significantly less. Adult birds are black on the head, throat, and upper parts, with snowy white underparts. They have a conspicuous white eye ring around a black iris. The beak is largely covered with black feathers, leaving only the tip exposed; this is primarily black, though it can show indistinct reddish-brown markings. The upper surface of the wing is black with a white trailing edge, while the underside is white with a narrow black leading edge and a small black tip. The legs and feet, which are mostly unfeathered, are pinkish. Upon hatching, the chick is fully covered in down feathers. This coat of feathers is typically silvery-grey (darker on the head), though some birds are much darker overall. Within 10 days, the chick molts into another set of down feathers, this time all dark smoky grey. Once they have molted a third time, 7-9 weeks after hatching, the immature birds are similar to adults in appearance, though they tend to be smaller with a bluer tinge to their upperparts and white (rather than black) chins and throats. They lack the full white eye ring of the adult until they are at least a year old.

Video

Distribution

Geography

Continents
Biogeographical realms
WWF Biomes

The Antarctic region is the only place, where these amazing birds live. Typically, they inhabit rocky beaches along the coastline of Antarctica and offshore islands, preferring areas that are free of ice. However, the highest concentration of these penguins is in the Ross Sea.

Adélie Penguin habitat map

Climate zones

Adélie Penguin habitat map
Adélie Penguin
Attribution-ShareAlike License

Habits and Lifestyle

Adélie penguins are diurnal birds. They are highly social and communicative animals, gathering into small colonies, where they live, socialize, forage, hunt as well as find protection from predators. When it comes to nesting, these penguins usually display extremely territorial behavior, sometimes even stealing nesting sites from each other. Adélie penguins are migratory animals. Thus, in the winter, the penguin colonies are usually found in coastal areas, on large ice platforms. Then, with the approaching of the breeding season (at the beginning of spring and during summer months), the penguins migrate to the seashore, looking for ice-free areas, where they construct their nests.

Seasonal behavior
Bird's call

Diet and Nutrition

Adélie penguins are carnivores (piscivores and molluscivore). Their diet primarily consists of krill. They will also consume other aquatic species, including silverfish, squid as well as crustaceans.

Mating Habits

MATING BEHAVIOR
REPRODUCTION SEASON
October-November
INCUBATION PERIOD
36 days
INDEPENDENT AGE
56 days
FEMALE NAME
hen
MALE NAME
cock
BABY NAME
chick, nestling
web.animal_clutch_size
2 eggs

Adélie penguins form monogamous pairs, remaining together throughout their lives. During October-November, the birds travel to their breeding grounds, constructing nests from stones and loose pieces of grass. Typically, the female lays 2 eggs at an interval of 2 days, after which both parents incubate the eggs for around 36 days. During the incubation period, the parents usually go out to sea to forage, leaving the nest one by one and taking turns with the eggs. Then, when the chicks are hatched, they again take turns to forage and feed the hatchlings, which are born semi-precocial and are not able to feed themselves. The hatchlings are born with their down feathers. By the age of 4 weeks, they join a creche or group of other chicks, where they find protection. However, during this period the parents still continue feeding the chicks for about 56 days, after which the young are independent.

Population

Population threats

Industrial fishing is among the notable threats to the species, reducing the numbers of fish and krill populations and causing food shortages in some areas of their range. However, the primary threat is environmental changes: populations in the northernmost part of their range are exposed to air and water warming, which reduces the area of sea ice, destructing their habitat. If the temperature continues increasing throughout the Antarctic, it will eventually lead to a serious danger to the Adélie penguin populations.

Population number

According to IUCN Red List, the total population size of the Adélie penguin is 7,580,000 mature individuals. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List, and its numbers today are increasing.

Ecological niche

Feeding upon krill and Antarctic silverfish, Adélie penguins thus control their numbers.

Fun Facts for Kids

  • Not only these penguins are top swimmers, but they also use various ways to move around while on land. Thus, they can walk with the characteristic waddling gait as well as move forward by jumping on their two feet. Adélie penguins also toboggan or slide on their belly over the ice surface or snow.
  • Adélie penguins are able to withstand low temperatures due to the structure of their plumage. They have a space between their skin and feathers, which serves as insulation. When swimming, the birds generate muscular heat, filling this space with warm air.
  • Adélie penguins can frequently be seen rocking back on their heel and supporting themselves on land with their tail feathers.
  • According to scientific studies, Adélie penguins have excellent navigational skills. They find their way from land to sea, navigated by the sun. During the day, the animals adjust to the changing position of the sun in the sky.
  • An Adélie penguin colony of 5 million birds will consume as much as 8 million kg (17.6 million lb.) of fish and krill per day.

Coloring Pages

References

1. Adelie Penguin Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad%C3%A9lie_penguin
2. Adelie Penguin on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22697758/0
3. Xeno-canto bird call - https://xeno-canto.org/254615

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