Penguins • M.L. Anderson, 2009
Contents: • The Antarctic • General Penguin Characteristics • Threats to Penguins • Adele • Gentoo • Chinstrap • Macaroni • Rockhopper • Emperor
Polar Seas • Along with blistering cold and storms, there are periods of calm and some warmth. • In the summer, the Poles have 24 hours of sunlight and in the winter there are months of darkness and bitter cold.
Polar Seas • Although the cold is intense, at the edges of these zones, there is a great diversity of life. • The ice can take many colors and hues and can be found lying flat, or in any shape imaginable, as the sheets of ice move and are thrust in all directions.
Arctic Sea Ice • Sea ice is a unique feature of the polar oceans. Its extent and thickness vary with the seasons. • Ice is mainly formed during the winter months and melts in summer. • In the Arctic, about 50% (7 million2 km) of the winter sea ice melts during the warmer months. • Typically, the thickness of "level" sea ice is 2 to 4m.
South: The Southern Ocean • The surrounding Southern Ocean is much larger than the Arctic Ocean. • It is also warmer than the Arctic Ocean, as it is contiguous with the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans. • Antarctica is completely isolated by the Southern Ocean which no land animal can cross. • Antarctica is much colder than the Arctic, as it is not warmed by any continents and is surrounded by a recurring barrier of sea ice.
Penguin Characteristics • Penguins cannot fly in air, but are fast, agile swimmers and are perfectly at home in the ocean. They ‘fly’ in the water. • On land penguins are slower and waddle or hop awkwardly. • Many toboggan over snow and ice on their bellies.
Penguins • 17 Species: all in the southern hemisphere. • Size: Largest is the Emperor Penguin at 130 cm (51”); Smallest is the Little Penguin at 46cm (18”)
Penguins • An adult penguin’s body has a dark dorsal surface and a light ventral surface. The counter shading helps conceal swimming penguins from both above and below. • Penguins lost the ability to fly over 65 million years ago, then gradually the wings became flipper-like the feathers became sleeker and water-proof. • The bones became denser and heavier.
Penguin Characteristics: Feathers • Penguin feathers are small and densely packed (~70/in2). • The downy base of each feather traps an insulating layer of air against the bird’s skin while the tips of the feathers overlap to form a waterproof outer coat. • Oil from a gland at the base of a penguin’s tail also helps waterproof the feathers. Preening is when the penguin spreads this oil over the feathers with its bill.
Penguin Characteristics: Blubber • Blubber, or stored fat, also insulates penguins from the cold and allows them to go without food for long periods of time while they are molting or incubating eggs. • The colder the climate the thicker the blubber and the “fatter” the penguin.
Penguin Characteristics Bill Lifespan The little penguins live to 6 years, while the large emperor penguins can live to 50 years. Penguins in captivity live for much longer. Penguins use their bills to capture prey, such as fish. They have soft, flexible bristles on their tongues and in their throats, which help them to hold prey to keep it from escaping.
Penguin Characteristics Swimming Diving Most dives are for food and are less than 50m (164ft). Emperor penguins can dive to 400m (1300ft) and can stay under water for 30 min. • Penguins are excellent swimmers. A penguin’s body is wedge, or torpedo shaped and moves easily through the water. It flaps its wings like flippers to propel itself through the water. It uses it’s tail, feet and wings like a rudder to steer. Some species swim 4x faster than Olympic swimmers.
Penguin Characteristics Nesting Behavior Diet The diet is mainly krill, fish and squid. • Most Antarctic penguins breed during the Antarctic summer, building pebble nests on the few rocky headlands available when the snow melts back. • Males and mated pairs defend their nest sites by squawks, pecks and wing slaps. Most penguins mate for life.
Penguin Characteristics Parental Care Predators The biggest predators are leopard seals, orca whales, sea lions and sharks. On land, predatory birds may eat as much as 40% of the penguin eggs of some species. They also go for small, unprotected chicks. • Male and female penguins share parental duties. While one partner is tending to the nest and chick(s), the other is off hunting for food and feeding. • When the feeding parent returns, it regurgitates food for the chicks. • As the chick gets bigger, the chicks are gathered in groups for protection while parent groups go for food.
Antarctic & Regional Penguins • Adelie • Gentoo • Chinstrap • Macaroni • Rockhopper • Emperor
Adelie Penguin This map shows the distribution of the Adelie penguin's breeding grounds. Pygoscelisadeliae This relatively small species of penguin is only about 11 pounds and was named after the wife of scientist and explorer Dumont D'Urville. www.aad.gov.au
Adelie Penguin • Adults return to the same rookery (nesting area) where they were born and build nests out of pebbles. • The giving of pebbles to the female by the male is part of the nesting courtship. Nesting pairs may stay together for six years. • Eggs are laid in November and chicks hatch in December. • The females lay two eggs and the parents take turns incubating the eggs.
Gentoo Penguins • Have wide white stripe that goes across the tops of their heads from one eye to the other. • Very bright orange beak • Largest members of the stiff-tailed family. • Live on many of the islands of the Antarctic region but the main colony is on the Falkland Islands. Pygoscelispapua
Gentoo Penguin • They eat mostly krill and some small fish • The expansion of roads throughout the Falklands, along with the increase in resident population and tourism, has greatly increased the level of disturbance at many Gentoo. colonies.
Gentoo Penguins • A snow field may separate the rookery from the ocean so the parents actually create "trails" in the snow as they walk to and from their nests, the parents taking turns caring for the babies and bringing food.
Gentoo Penguin • Gentoos have typical penguin feet, well adapted to walking over rough rocky terrain and snow. • Their tough, fat feet have sharp nails for clinging to rock and digging into the snow.
Chinstrap Penguins • These penguin are similar to Adelies but have a distinctive thin black stripe under their chin. • They feed mostly on krill. • The chicks take about nine weeks before they are ready to go to sea. Chinstraps are also more aggressive than the Adelies in their breeding behavior. Pygoscelisantarctica
Chinstrap Penguins • Chinstrap nests resemble Adelie nests with the pebbles piled up by the couple. • The female, in preparation for egg laying, makes a depression in the middle of the nest. • This pebble nest serves to keep the eggs off the ground and allow melt water to run through. • There is such a small window of time for breeding that the arriving penguins must build their nests immediately when they arrive, they can only use bare ground.
Macaroni Penguin • This species was named after a group of flamboyant dressed men (often with dyed hair) of the 1700s who traveled from England to Italy (and ate pasta) and were called 'Macaroni Dandies'. Do you remember the song “Yankee Doodle … stuck a feather in his cap and called it macaroni"? Eudypteschrysolophus NGS webpage
Macaroni Penguins • Yellow and black plumes join on the top of the head with solid black feathers on the cheeks and under the chin. • Located on the sub-Antarctic Islands of South Georgia, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard & McDonald Islands. • Colonies are also located on the small islands off the southern tips of South America and Africa.
Macaroni Penguins • Natural predators, such as sea lions and orcas (killer whales) occasionally take adults at sea. • Gulls, skuas and other birds of prey patrol breeding sites for eggs and young. • These penguins, unlike any other, lay two eggs – both fertile, the first one is small and darker and gets pushed aside, the second one is large and lighter in color. They incubate the large egg, the other appears to be a spare, perhaps for the suka birds.
Rockhopper Penguins • Part of the crested penguins family because of the brightly colored feathers on their heads. • Smallest of the crested penguins. • Eat squid, krill, and other small fish. • Live on most of the islands in the Antarctic region but there are major colonies on the Falkland Islands. Eudypteschrysocome http://www.siec.k12.in.us/west/proj/penguins/rock.html
Rockhopper Penguins • Named after their ability to hop over rocks and crevices on the shores where they live. • Breeding has declined from 2,500,000 breeding pairs in 1984 to around 300,000 breeding pairs as a result of commercial fishing around the Falkland Islands.
Emperor Penguin • The largest penguins at about 1.3m (45”) tall and weighing about 45kg (88 lbs). • Characterized by their unique coloring and size. • They have scaly feathers. • Very social and work cooperatively in order to deal with their harsh environment. Aptenodytesforsteri
Emperor Penguins • They breed in the middle of the Antarctic winter, during the most violent weather known on Earth. • Other Antarctic penguins breed during the Antarctic summer. • Most emperors breed on sea ice, often walking miles inland on the ice. There is no nest for the emperors. The female lays a single egg and it is immediately taken by the male, put on top of his feet, and he snuggles down over it and incubates it. • The females leave the males to do all the incubation during the two months of egg development. Emperor Range
Emperor Penguin • The males rock back on their heels (to keep the greatest surface area of their feet off the ice) and huddle together for protection during winter storms. • They loose almost 1/5 of their body weight during this time but they wait patiently for the return of their mate. • The females return right when the chicks hatch just in time to relieve the male and feed the newborn regurgitated krill. The weak males then return to the ocean, feed and come back to begin taking turns with their mate.
Emperor Penguins • Why do they reproduce in the winter? The time it takes to fledge such a large bird could not be accomplished during the Antarctic summer and so their winter reproduction allows their chicks to be ready to be on their own at the height of the Antarctic summer - during the big krill bloom for lots of food. Photo: Kristen Johnson
Emperor Penguins • This may be the most important reason for the male emperors waiting out the two months of solid darkness. In addition, there are virtually no predators during the Antarctic winter to interfere with the reproductive process.
Threats to Penguins Conservation Threats Oil Spills Pollution Rubbish, such as plastics Over-fishing Introduced Predators, such as feral dogs, pigs, ferrets and cats in New Zealand, So. America and So. Africa. Illegal egg collecting and harvesting. • All penguin species are protected from egg harvesting and collection, however poaching is common. • CITES lists many of he non-Antarctic penguins as endangered, such as the Galapagos and Humboldt and lists the Black-footed penguin as threatened. • The US Endangered Species Act of 1973 and World Conservation Union (WCU) both list the Galapagos penguin as endangered.