Our Beautiful World

Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus    

Magellanic Penguin  Magellanpingvin  Magelhaenpinguïn    Manchot de Magellan Magellanpinguin
  Magellanpingvin  Pinguino Magallanico Magelhaen penguin

Courtesy: http://www.coolantarctica.com

The Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus, is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the
Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil. It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest relatives are the
African Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin and the Galápagos Penguin.

Penguins are medium-sized penguins which grow to be 61–76 cm (24–30 in) tall and weigh between 2.7 kg and 6.5 kg
(5.9-14.3 lbs). The males are larger than the females and the weight of both drops while the parents nurture their young.

Courtesy: http://www.coolantarctica.com

Adults have black backs and white stomachs. There are two black bands between the head and the breast, with the lower band
shaped in an inverted horseshoe. The head is black with a broad white border that runs from behind the eye, around the
black ear-coverts and chin, and joins at the throat. Chicks and younger penguins have grey-blue backs, with a more faded
grey-blue color on their chest. Magellanic Penguins can live up to 25 years in the wild, but as much as 30 years in captivity.

Magellanic Penguins feed in the water, preying on cuttlefish, sardines, squid, krill, and other crustaceans.
Since they ingest sea water with their prey, a salt-excreting gland has evolved to filter out the salt.

Courtesy: http://www.coolantarctica.com

Magellanic Penguins travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, these birds gather in large nesting
colonies at the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, which have a density of 20 nests per
100 square meters. One of the largest of these colonies is located at Punta Tombo. Nests are built under bushes or in burrows.

Two eggs are laid. Incubation lasts 39–42 days, a task which the parents share in 10-15 day shifts.
The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days and are fed every 2–3 days.
Normally both are raised through adulthood, though occasionally only one chick is raised.

Magellandpingviner i fjærbytte, San Julian.
Copyright © Vladimir Dinets

Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner year after year. The male reclaims his burrow from the previous year and
waits to reconnect with his female partner. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call alone.

Punta Tombo
Millions of these penguins still live on the coasts of Chile and Argentina, but the species is classified as "Threatened species,"
primarily due to the vulnerability of large breeding colonies to oil spills, which kill 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles
every year off the coast of Argentina. The decline of fish populations is also responsible, as well as predators such as sea lions
and giant petrels, which prey on the chicks

Magellanic penguin breeding home and rookery located at Punta Tombo

© http://www.nothingbutpenguins.com

Researchers are particularly concerned with the Magellanic penguin breeding home and rookery located at Punta Tombo in Argentina. Between the late 1960s and early 1980s, scientists believe the penguin population at Punta Tombo may have peaked at about 400,000 breeding pairs. But by 1997 that number had gone down to some 250,000 pairs of penguins and some ten years later the population stood at 200,000 breeding pairs.

While scientists believe that over fishing and coastal development may account for this plummeting population, oil pollution also plays a role. As they ingest oil from preening their feathers, the penguins’ immune systems are put at risk and the animals become more prone to disease. What’s more, the oil gives rise to lesions in the penguins’ stomachs and as a result the animals have difficulty digesting food.

In addition, penguins which encounter oil on the high seas have problems staying warm in cold south Atlantic waters. The oiled penguins wind up seeking refuge on land, but many of the shivering creatures will perish. That’s because oil destroys the insulating quality of penguins’ feathers. Consequently, the oiled penguin dies of hypothermia. For years, penguins have been washing up on the Patagonian shore coated with oil. At Punta Tombo the scene has been pitiful: arriving penguins must pass over other dead penguins covered in oil.

Commentary by Nikolas Kozloff, special to mongabay.com (March 15, 2010). Falklands Dispute:
Argentine Sovereignty Won’t Solve the Problem.

Magellan-pingvin (Spheniscus magellanicus)i en grop,
San Julian, Patagonia.
Magellan-pingvin med unge,
San Julian.

Magellanic penguin in a burrow, San Julian.
Unlike all other breeding species of the Scotia Sea, Magellanic penguins nest in burrows. Their colonies can be found on beaches, sandy coasts, sometimes even in shrub thickets or coastal forests. They number 5-10 million in mainland South America, but there are also 100,000 pairs on the Falkland, and over 600,000 at Tierra del Fuego. They seldom get far from shore, moving north up to Brazil in winter. However, vagrant individuals have been recorded as far as New Zealand and Australia
Territorial display, San Julian.

penguins penguins
Molting Magellanic penguin chicks, San Julian.

Magellanic penguins in a nesting niche, San Julian.
Sometimes they don't excavate a burrow, but nest in a niche made in the shade of a shrub. They start breeding in August or September, and lay two eggs.
Magellanic penguin chick in a nesting niche, San Julian
San Julian.

Fledging Magellanic penguin, San Julian.
Magellanic penguins are fiercely territorial at nests, but often engage in cooperative feeding at sea. Their main food is small pelagic fish, sometimes squid. Their numbers are slowly decreasing, particularly in Argentina.
Two couples in a territorial dispute, San Julian

Magellanic penguin creche, San Julian

All pictures on this page, except if otherwise stated: Copyright © Vladimir Dinets


over 250


over 500


over 225
Web www.vulkaner.no

This page has been made with Macromedia Dreamweaver