Gentoo Penguin

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Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo Penguin
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Pygoscelis
Species: P. papua
Binomial name
Pygoscelis papua
(Forster, 1781)

The Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is a species of penguin easily recognized by the white stripe, similar to a bonnet, across it's head. They are the largest penguins of the stiff-tailed family, which also makes them the largest penguin outside of the two giant penguins, the Emperor Penguin and the King Penguin.

Appearance[change | change source]

The Gentoo penguin is, on average, 5 kilograms in weight and 80 centimeters in height, but can range from 8.5 kg to 4.5 kg and 51 to 91 cm. They have very large male reproductive organs, and are also the fastest at swimming underwater among the penguins, reaching speeds of 36 kilometers per hour.

Life[change | change source]

Gentoo penguins generally live on Antarctic islands, with their largest colony on the Falkland Islands. There are approximately 320,000 breeding pairs of Gentoo penguins.

These penguins nest on the ground, making nests of stones, sticks, grass, feathers, and various other materials. They usually lay two eggs by mid-October, which hatch in about 34 days, and put equal care into caring for either chick. Young chicks remain in the nest for 3 to 4 weeks until their second down feathers grow in, during which their parents hunt for food in order to feed them. Afterward, they leave the nest but remain in the colony in groups of chicks, called creches that free their parents to hunt for food for them.

Gentoo penguin pairs often stay together for a long period of time.

Gentoo penguins usually eat crustaceans, such as krill, but are known to eat what is easiest to obtain. At sea, they may be under attack from sea lions, leopard seals, and orcas. While on land, they have no natural predators, but skua, gulls, and other birds of prey have been known to attack and eat young chicks and eggs.

Other Websites[change | change source]

Gentoo colony on Carcass Island in the Falklands

References[change | change source]

  1. Unknown assessors (2010). Pygoscelis papua. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2008. Retrieved on 8 October 2011.