Gentoo penguin

Pygoscelis papua

As I already had the chance to expain, penguins don't live only in Antarctica! These species is found in several sub-Antarctic islands and also on the south and east coast of Patagonia, in South America.
Gentoo penguins are easy to recognize thanks to their wide white stripe extending across the top of the head and their orange bill. They have pale pink webbed feet and rather long tails, actually the most prominent ones between penguin species. After the emperor and king penguins, gentoo are the largest existing penguins reaching up to 90 centimeters of height and 8.5 kilograms of weigth. They also hold the record of fastest underwater swimmers with speeds of up to 36 km/h!
Gentoos create breeding colonies on shallow, ice-free coastal areas. They are monogamous, and there are cases where males trying to breed outsidethe original pair were actively rejected from the colony. The females lay two eggs and both parents care for them switching feeding - they eat mainly krill -and incubation duties with a daily frequence. After five weeks the eggs hatch and it takes a month for the newborns to leave the nest and join the other chicks of the colony. Plumage moulting occurs approximately after three months, and from now on the penguins can be considered subadults.
An interesting trait of gentoos is that they make nests with roughly circular pile of stones which are guarded jealously, to the point that they can create active disputes between individuals probably because thyr are prized by the females: a male penguin can in fact obtain the favors of a female by offering her a choice stone.

Pictures taken using a canon Eos80D camera with EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM lens and UV filter at Isla Martillo in the Beagle Channel, near Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, on the 28th of February 2019.

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Isla Martillo

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