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Penguin Species Series #4 - The Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin, Pygoscelis papua

Coolest Fact: Gentoo penguins are the fastest swimmers of all penguins—up to 22 mph!

Where It’s Found: Primarily on the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, Falkland / Malvinas Islands

Crucial Facts:

· IUCN Status: Least Concern

· Population: about 400,000 breeding pairs

· Mating: faithfulness to mates--variable

· Nesting: stone nests, two chicks

· Life Span: 15-20 years

· Food: krill, squic, small fish

· Threats: fisheries and climate change

Our First Sighting: January 9, 2006

Antarctic Peninsula

Our Story:

One of the greatest wildlife experiences in the world is watching Gentoo penguins in the Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas. We love to see them play in the surf. It’s fun and astonishing to watch: the penguins catch a wave and ride it as it comes ashore. Often, the Gentoos will catch air, as if flung out of the water by the wave. We’ve seen individual penguins ride a wave toward shore, then swim out and do it again. We’ve also watched Gentoo penguins “porpoising” out of the water in unison, as if doing synchronized swimming. The best places to watch Gentoo penguins surfing? Sea Lion Island and Saunders Island. They may be the most playful of all the penguins—which makes them one of my very favorite species of penguin.

This new penguin series includes stories, information, and photos not yet published. Read about our quest to see all 18 of the world’s penguin species in my book “Every Penguin in the World.”

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