Brush Tailed Penguins (Pygoscelis) "Bottom-legged"

Adelie Penguin(Pygoscelis adeliae)

The Pygoscelis penguins are the only species where all 3 species have stable populations.

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Adelie Photo Gallery

Adelie Photo Gallery 1

They are the second largest of the Pygoscelis penguins being about 29 inches in length and weighing around 9 to 11 pounds. They are, along with the emperor penguin, truly Antarctic penguins. They are the most common and smallest of all penguins in Antarctica. They have a black-blue head, upper parts of body and tail, distinguishing them from the other Pygoscelis penguins. They have a white belly and a thin white ring around their eyes. They are the epitome of "tuxedoed" penguin. They are circumpolar, breeding from Cape Royds in the Ross Sea, along the coast of the Antarctic continent, the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula north to the South Sandwich Islands. They breed the furthest South of any penguin. Main breeding sites: Ross Sea region ~ 1,000,000 pairs, with Cape Cozier (the most eastern point of the Ross Island) accounting for ~500,000 pairs, Antarctic Peninsula ~727,000 pairs, and Pyrdz Bay ~325,000 pairs. The total population is estimated at 2.5 million pairs and the population is stable. Their diet consists mainly of krill and fish. They lay two white to greenish eggs the first or A egg being much larger than the B egg in contrast to the crested penguins where the B egg is larger. They build their nests where there is no snow. They average 0.79 to 1.27 chicks per pebbled nest depending on the breeding location. Their main oceanic predator is the leopard seal. In the Spring their nests are subject to katabatic winds of hurricane force which can result in the freezing of adult Adelies and their eggs. They have the highest mortality rate for juveniles and adults of any penguin species. They can dive to a maximum depth of ~ 100 feet. Their maximum walking speed is 2.4 mph and their average swimming speed is 4.4 mph with a maximum speed of 4.9 mph.

Chinstrap Penguin(Pygoscelis Antarctica)

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Chinstrap Photo Gallery

Chinstrap Photo Gallery1

They are the smallest of the Pygoscelis penguins being 26 to 28 inches in length and weighing 9 to 14 pounds. They are characterized by a diagnostic thin black line running from ear to ear. The head is black and the face white. They are the second most abundant Antarctic/subantarctic penguin after the Macaroni. They are circumpolar, breeding south of the Antarctic convergence, mainly on the Antarctic Peninsula to Anvers Island, and on the subantarctic islands in the South Atlantic; South Shetland (540,000 pairs), South Sandwich (5,000,000 pairs), and the South Georgia and Bouvet Islands. The estimated total population is 7,490,200 pairs and thus their population is stable. They eat krill and small fish. They are the boldest penguin and are most likely to fight other penguins. They lay two similar sized eggs (white to cream in color) in contrast to the Adelie. They average anywhere from .016 to 1.83 per nest in different years at same site. The greater the ice the lower the breeding success rate. They are able to dive to a maximum of 328 feet, but most dives are less than 98 feet. Nearly half are less than33 feet and last between 20 and 30 seconds. Their average swimming speed is 5.1 mph, their maximum has been recorded at 5.3 mph.

Gentoo Penguin(Pygoscelis papua)

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Gentoo Photo Gallery

Gentoo Photo Gallery 1

They are the largest of the Pygoscelis penguins being 30 to 34 inches in length and weighing around 11 to 15 pounds. They have the widest range of distribution of any penguin. They have bright red-orange bills, orange feet, and the conspicuous triangular white patches behind their eyes usually extending over the head, clearly differentiating them for the smaller Pygoscelis penguins. They have the most prominent tail of all penguins, which sweeps from side to side as they walk. They are the most timid of all penguins. There are two sub-species: Pygoscelis p. papua and the smaller Pygoscelis p. ellsworthii. They are circumpolar, breeding on the subantarctic islands and Antarctic Peninsula. The main breeding populations for subspecies papua are: Falkland Islands - 108,000 pairs, South Georgia - 90,000 pairs, and Kerguelen Island - 35 to 40,000 pairs; for the subspecies ellsworthii: Antarctic Peninsula - 20,000 pairs. There are an estimated 314,000 breeding pairs and their population is stable. Their diet consists mainly of krill and fish. They lay 2 greenish-white eggs with a larger A egg and smaller B egg. Hatching success varies from 56% to 90% depending on the breeding location, availability of food and lack of predators. They can dive to a maximum depth of 656 feet and make as many as 450 dives during a single day foraging for food. They are the fastest underwater swimming penguins reaching speeds of 22 mph.