What makes the Adelie penguin so unique? Well, other than the fact that it’s so cute, the Adelie is known for its grace in the water. While this penguin breed looks quite clumsy on land, it can reach very fast speeds when escaping from its enemies.
Penguin name: Adelie penguin
Scientific name: Pygoscelis Adeliae
Size: About 30 inches tall, or about mid thigh level of an average adult.
Location: Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands.
What Do They Eat? Adelie penguins are rather fond of fish and krill, which is a food source rich in tiny marine life, like miniature shrimp.
Main enemies: Leopard seals
photo by Mark Van de Wouw
Did you know that Adelie’s are the smallest penguin found in the Antarctic, and that they can dive 500 feet beneath the surface of the water searching for prey? The Adelie’s are a very common and well-known penguin species.
The black and white colors of the Adelie make them look like they’re wearing tuxedos. This makes them appear very cute and well groomed. Many find their looks amusing. There are an estimated 2.5 million pairs of Adelie penguins living in colonies, also known as rookeries, in Antarctica.
Visitors to the Antarctic often laugh as they watch thousands of them waddling slowly toward the water’s edge, where they dive with gusto into the icy ocean waters that surround them.
Unlike most human couples, Adelie penguins take turns incubating (warming) their eggs. Shortly after their birth, females head to the sea to feed. They leave their male partners to stand watch over the eggs, sometimes for 10 days at a time! Both male and female Adelie penguins are very good at watching over them as they hatch and grow.
Most Adelie penguin babies hatch in just over a month. Chicks stay close to their parents for the first weeks of life. They are sometimes gathered into groups for added protection and warmth.
As a matter of fact, penguin colonies often take turns “babysitting” their babies so that parents are able to swim in the ocean to feed. Not to worry though, parents bring back plenty of food for their young ones, which they regurgitate, much like birds.