Pygoscelis antarcticus, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Pygoscelis antarcticus (J.R. Forster, 1781)
* Commentationes Societatis Regiae Scientiarum Gottingensis 3(1780) p.134,141 pl.4
The Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) is a species of penguin which is found in the South Sandwich Islands, Antarctica, the South Orkneys, South Shetland, South Georgia, Bouvet Island and Balleny. Their name derives from the narrow black band under their heads which makes it appear as if they are wearing black helmets, making them one of the most easily identified types of penguin. Other names for them are "Ringed Penguins", "Bearded Penguins", and "Stonecracker Penguins" due to their harsh call.
Chinstrap Penguins grow to 68 cm (27 in) in length, and a weight of 6 kg (13.2 lbs) ; however, their weight can drop as low as 3 kg (6.6 lbs) depending on the breeding cycle. Males are both larger and heavier than females. Their diet consists of krill, shrimp and fish, for which they swim up to 80 km (50 miles) offshore each day.
They live on barren islands and large icebergs of the sub-Antarctic Region and the Antarctic Peninsula; however, they generally require solid, snow-free ground to nest on. The Chinstrap Penguin's primary predator is the leopard seal. There are 12 - 13 million chinstrap penguins. They have an average life span of 15 - 20 years.
Chinstrap Penguins are considered the most aggressive penguin.
On land (and occasionally on icebergs) they build circular nests from stones, and lay two eggs, which are incubated by both the male and the female for shifts of 6 days. The chicks hatch after about 37 days, and have fluffy gray backs and white fronts. The chicks stay in the nest for 20–30 days before they go to join a creche. At around 50–60 days old, they moult, gaining their adult feathers and go to sea.
Roy and Silo
In 2004, two male chinstrap penguins named Roy and Silo in Central Park Zoo, New York City, formed a pair-bond and took turns trying to “hatch” a rock; this was substituted by a keeper for a fertile egg, and the pair subsequently hatched and raised the chick. Penguins, by their nature, hatch eggs and are social creatures. A children's book, And Tango Makes Three, was written based on this event.
1. ^ BirdLife International (2004). Pygoscelis antarcticus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 06 Feb 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
Source: Wikipedia. Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License