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Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

Quick Facts

Genus: Pygoscelis papua

Location: Antarctica

The Scoop

The Scoop:

Striking looks, graceful swimmer

This striking bird is sure to stand out from the crowd! Along with the classic black & white tuxedo coloring common among penguins, the Gentoo penguin features bright orange-red beaks and a white patch around both eyes that connects on the top of their head. The average adult weighs around 12 lbs which is the same as a 3-month-old baby! They stand about 30 inches tall, which is just slightly smaller than a yardstick. The average lifespan of the Gentoo penguin is between 15 to 20 years.

Gentoo penguins are very social animals that tend to stay with their colonies even after mating season. These penguin parents are very nurturing. They build nests together and take turns incubating their eggs. Gentoo penguins prefer to return to the same mating & nesting areas as well as the same partners each year! However, if the nesting site isn’t clean enough they will move to another spot as they prefer cleanliness.

While these penguins may look awkward on land when they waddle, they are incredibly graceful underwater! Their streamlined bodies are ideal for diving and swimming – they are the fastest of all penguin species sometimes reaching up to 20 miles per hour! The Gentoo penguin feeds on fish, squid and krill and hunts by making deep dives into the coastal waters. They sometimes make as many as 450 dives a day for food!

Quick Facts:

  • Gentoo penguins are the 3rd largest penguin species
  • Gentoo penguins can be found on many sub-Antarctic islands as well as the Antarctic peninsula
  • These penguins tend to stay with their colonies even after mating season. They are very social and form lasting bonds with their peers.

Other facts:

  • Gentoo penguins can stay underwater for up to 7 minutes while diving for food
  • Their tail is fairly long and the most prominent of the penguin species
  • The characteristic white patches above their eyes are not connected to the white ring around their eyes until they molt at the age of 14 months

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