Chinstrap Penguin

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image: chinstrappenguin.jpg

Common Name: Chinstrap Penguin
Scientific Name: Pygoscelis antarctica

Size: 15 ¾ inches (40 cm)

Habitat: Antarctica; Circumpolar around Antarctica. They live in large colonies all around Antarctica, but mainly on the South Sandwich Islands. One colony is believed to contain 10 million individuals. They leave their colonies and move north of the pack ice for the winter months.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 4,000,000 - 5,220,000 mature individuals. Global warming is considered a threat.

Diet: Krill and small shoaling fish. They feed by diving for prey close to their colonies, each dive being less than 1 minute long and no more than 61 m in depth. They are considered to be near shore feeders, although they can occasionally be seen in the open sea.

Nesting: Chinstrap Penguins build their nests from stones and when complete they are approximately 40 cms in diameter and 15 cms in height. They lay two eggs which are incubated by both parents; they alternate every 5 - 10 days.

After 5 - 6 weeks the eggs hatch but the chicks remain in the nest for a further 20 - 30 days before they join other young penguins in a crèche. The young penguins are colored grey on their back and white on their front.

After 7 - 9 weeks, and after molting and gaining their adult plumage, the young penguins venture out to sea.

Cool Facts: Chinstrap Penguins are one of the most easily identifiable penguins due to the thin black line that runs from ear to ear under their chin. It looks like a chinstrap, which is where their name originates.

The main predators of Chin Strap Penguins are leopard seals. Eggs and chicks can fall prey to birds, such as sheathbills and the brown skua.


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