Magellanic Penguin

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image: MagellanicPenguin.jpg

Common Name: Magellanic Penguin
Scientific Name: Spheniscus magellanicus

Size: 24-30 inches (61-67 cm)

Habitat: Sub-Antarctica; breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil.

Status: Vulnerable; although Millions of these penguins still live on the coasts of Chile and Argentina, this species is classified as "Near Threatened," primarily due to the vulnerability of large breeding colonies to oil spills, which kill 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles every year off the coast of Argentina. The decline of fish populations is also responsible, as well as predators such as sea lions and giant petrels.

Diet: Small fish; anchovies, herring, smelt and crustaceans

Nesting: Nests are built under bushes or in burrows. Two eggs are laid. Incubation lasts 39-42 days, a task which the parents share in 10-15 day shifts. The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days and are fed every 2-3 days. Normally both are raised through adulthood, though occasionally only one chick is raised.

Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and wait to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call alone.


Cool Facts: Magellanic Penguins travel in large flocks when hunting for food.

The main predators are gulls and skuas.

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