Ecstatic Display
Often performed by single males to attract a mate to their nest, the display is accompanied by a repetitive honking or braying call and often incites others to join in.
Straightening and conditioning the feathers. This is a comforting behavior often exhibited following a stressful situation. Penguins can be seen preening in various positions both on land and in the water.
Mutual Preening
The same thing as preening but each bird preens the other instead of themselves. Mated pairs often do this in order to strengthen their bond.
It is often difficult to take care of the feathers on a penguin’s head so using the foot help to get the hard to reach areas.
Water Preening
Penguins have more feathers per square inch then any bird on earth. It takes many, many hours of work to keep the feathers in shape so they clean up on land and in the water.
Although penguins spend most of their time standing sometimes they lay down for a rest, as you can see in this photo. Penguins can sleep either standing up or lying down.
Penguin sleep both standing up and lying down. This photo shows one of our Rockhopper penguins sleeping in the standing position.
Slender Walk
Used by penguins trying to pass by their neighbors without getting into a fight. This behavior makes the penguin look very tall and thin.
Penguins can take as little as 20 minutes to digest their food so they poop a lot. In the wild African penguins actually burrow into dried guano (penguin poop) for nesting purposes.
Keeping Cool
Rockhopper penguins will cool their bodies when resting by lifting their wings to allow cool air to pass underneath.
Defensive Gape
Gaping is defensive behavior that is like saying “stay out of my territory, or else!”.
Every penguin loses and replaces all feathers once per year. This penguin is in the middle of molting so you can see a patch of displaced feathers.
Water Proofing
This penguin is reaching to get an oily substance from the preen gland located at the base of the tail. This oily substance helps to condition the feathers and give them some water repellency.
Penguins mate in various positions and mostly during the Spring season. Usually, as in this photo, the male is on top.
Penguins in Caves
At the New England Aquarium we provide nesting burrows, or caves, for our penguins during mating seasons.
Diving In
Here you can see one of our Rockhopper penguins eying the water before diving in. This posture makes penguins look like they have long necks.
Sideways Stare
A method of threatening a neighbor who has come too close to another penguin’s territory. Also used by single female penguins when approaching an interesting single male penguin.
Used by penguins when there is an intruder near its territory. This behavior shows just how long and flexible a penguin body can be.
Aggressive Point
This display is a more aggressive version on the point used to defend territory.
Usually between a male and female penguin. It is a form of appeasement which establishes the pair’s bond and also keeps it strong.