|Did You Know?
The Adelie penguin is the characteristic “tuxedo” penguin of Antarctica. This species, along with the emperor penguin, is restricted to Antarctica and the surrounding waters. The Adelie belongs to a group of penguins known as the brush-tailed or stiff-tailed penguins.
Common: Adelie penguin.
Scientific: Pygoscelis adeliae. Pygoscelis meaning ‘rump legged’ and adeliae for Adelie Dumont d’Urville the wife of a well known French naval officer and explorer.
Circumpolar on the Antarctic continent and the surrounding waters within the limits of pack ice.
Primarily krill, with some fish.
Spend their lives, outside of the breeding season, at sea. Rest on ice floes. Come to land only to nest, raise their young and then molt, before returning to sea.
Nest in large colonies of up to half a million birds. Nests are small depressions lined with pebbles, that are carefully selected and brought to the nest site. Nests are started by males at the beginning of the season and then added to by both birds after the pair is formed. Usually two eggs are laid, in rare cases, three. The incubation period of the first egg is 35 – 37 days; chicks hatch asynchronally. Both male and female parent share incubation and chick rearing duties. The downy grey and black chicks are fed regurgitated krill. Young are independent of the parents at about two months of age.
Leopard seals are the primary predators of adult birds. Skuas prey on eggs and chicks on land.
Conservation Challenges and Solutions:
Regulation of commercial krill fishing in waters near breeding colonies. Control of marine pollution, particularly oil spills and chemical contamination. Limitation of tourist activity near breeding colonies.
Population/IUCN- The World Conservation Union designation:
Least Concern population estimated at 4,000,000-5,200,000 birds.
North American Zoos & Aquariums:
Captive Population in North America = 120