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Gentoo Penguin

Pygoscelis papua

Fast Facts

  • Gentoo penguins are the fastest swimming penguins, with top speeds of 22 miles per hour
  • They will eat 10% of their body weight each day.
  • Gentoos are the third largest penguin species.
  • Penguin knees sit at an angle, so they are always squatting.

range

Range

Falkland and other Sub-antarctic Islands

Habitat

Marine rocky shores

Size

30 inches tall

Nutrition

Fish, krill, and squid


Characteristics


Gentoo penguins have black and white feathers. They have a distinctive white patch that connects their eyes over the top of their head. Their beak ranges from yellowish to red, depending on their diet. On average, an adult weighs 12 pounds. Gentoo penguins have a distinctly long tail that brushes the ground as they walk. There is no difference in feather coloring between males and females.

Behavior


During their active period, Gentoo penguins live on rocky shores in large colonies. They are excellent swimmers—the fastest of all penguins—which aids them in catching food. An adult Gentoo will dive up to 450 times a day to find food. They have been recorded holding their breath for up to seven minutes. Like many penguins, Gentoos are very vocal, using a range of noises for communicating.

Reproduction


When breeding season begins, the male presents the female with a pebble. If she accepts it, they build a nest together. Females typically lay 2 eggs, which incubate for 34-37 days. The adults take turns incubating the eggs. Chicks rely on their parents for food for at least three months, sometimes longer.

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