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Penguins, Penguins, Penguins Oh My!

Penguins, Penguins, Penguins Oh my!

Penguins, Penguins, Penguins Oh my!

Click HERE to check out Ms. Debbie’s adventures from the beginning.

Welcome to Cierva Pt.!  It’s a beautiful day here and we are going to  special ASPA (Antarctic Specially Protected Area).  It is also where the Argentinian base is, although they are not there currently.  It is very different from Livingston Island.

The scenery is magnificent!  There is a lot of icebergs to see…and a lot of penguins!  On this island we saw gentoo penguins.  They are super cute and so funny to watch!  They chase each other around and are unbelievably good climbers!  I was really surprised how far they were able to get up the side of the cliff.


The two types of penguins in my last ICE BLOCKER were Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins. At Cierva Pt.,  I saw only Gentoo Penguins.  Let’s learn a little bit more about them and how they are similar and different to Chinstrap Penguins.

Gentoo penguins stand 51 to 90 cm tall. Gentoos are the third largest penguins in the world. Emperor and king penguins are the only penguins that are taller than gentoos. Adult males weigh 11 – 19 pounds. Females have a maximum weight of 18 pounds. These penguins eat crustaceans, fish, krill, squat lobsters, and squid. Most of the gentoo’s diet consists of fish and krill. Gentoos make colonies on rocky, ice-free areas. They live in Falkland Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Heard Islands, South Georgia, Macquarie Island, South Shetland Islands, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Gentoo penguins are the fastest swimmers of all penguins. They can reach the speed of 22 miles per hour or 36 kilometers per hour. The female gentoo lays 2 eggs weighing 130 grams. Chicks begin to forage after 80 – 100 days age.  These penguins can live 15 – 20 years in the natural habitat.  Predators of Gentoo penguins are killer whales, leopard seals, and sea lions. Skuas mostly eat Gentoo’s eggs (I saw lots of Skuas!). The overall population size of Gentoo penguins consist of 300,000 breeding pairs worldwide. According to Donna, one of our “bird” specialists at Palmer Station, these penguins are starting to be seen further south on the Antarctic Peninsula because of the warming of the climate in Antarctica.

The chinstrap penguin is fairly common on the small islands of Antarctic Ocean as well as on Southern Pacific. It has quite unique appearance in that there is a black band that runs throughout its back all the way to the back of the head. The penguin earns its name because of this band. Chinstrap penguins are also called ringed penguins and bearded penguins. Adult penguins stand 72 cm tall and weigh 6.6–11.0 pounds. Females are smaller and less heavy as compared to males. They have black flippers the inside of which is white. Chinstrap penguins have reddish brown eyes along with the white face. The combination of black and white appearance provides it a perfect camouflage against predators. The chinstrap penguin makes home in ice-free habitats such as rough foreshores, rocky slopes, high cliff edges, and headlands. They are expert climbers. Chinstrap penguins breed in the Falkland Islands, Argentina, Antarctica, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands, French Southern Territories, and Bouvet Island. The chinstrap penguin eats krill, shrimp, squid, and fish. It also swims as much as 50 miles offshore. Chinstrap penguins can swim in freezing cold water. The female lays 2 eggs in a stone-built nest. The eggs hatch in about 37 days but the chicks will begin their first ever foraging journey at about 50 years age. Chinstrap penguins can live as long as 15 – 20 years in the wild. Leopard seal, sheathbill, and brown skua are thought to be the primary predators of chinstrap penguins. There are 100,000 breeding colonies of chinstrap penguins worldwide.


Now that you know a lot about Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, see if you can draw 2 penguins.  Divide your paper in half.  Draw a gentoo on one half and a chinstrap on the other.  Add three things to each picture that they have in common.  For example, the females of both species lay 2 eggs.  Also add three differences.  For example, gentoos can be taller than chinstraps.

Here are some templates if you need them….Have fun!

So long for now, I’ll be seeing you at Palmer Station next!  There we will hopefully get to see the Adelie penguin!

Ms. Debbie


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    Check out these webcams of Palmer Stations and a nearby penguin colony

    Get started learning about the Antarctic Midge:

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    Has climate change affected a bug that can stay frozen for 9 months? This UK researcher will find out

    Learn all about the work done at the Insect Stress Biology Lab at the University of Kentucky


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