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Adelie Penguin

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Adelie Penguin
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Pygoscelis adeliae

The Adelie Penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is, together with the Emperor Penguin, the only penguin living on the Antarctic mainland. It is named after Adelie Land. At the coasts of the mainland and some nearby islands it forms large colonies. There is a colony on Ross Island of approximately half a milion Adelie Penguins. This species is common along the entire Antarctic coast.

Adelie penguin Kindergarten in Antarctica (photo Uwe Kils)

This rather small penguin is 60 to 70 cm long and 5 kg in weight. Distinctive marks are the white ring surrounding the eye and the feathers at the base of the bill. These long feathers hide most of the red bill. The tail is a little bit longer than other penguins' tails.

Adelie Penguins arrive at their breeding grounds in October. Their nests consist of stones piled together. The females lay their eggs and return to the sea. Only the males stay and hatch the eggs. It is now December, the warmest month in Antarctica (about -2C). In 35 days of breeding the males don't eat; then the young hatch. Now the females return in order to help in feeding the young. In March the adults and their young return to the sea.

This penguin feeds mainly on crustaceans such as krill.

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