Gentoo penguins are easily recognized by their bright reddish-orange bills and white patches just behind their eyes. They work together to hunt and feed their large colonies, sometimes numbering into the hundreds of thousands!
Penguin name: Gentoo penguin (It’s pronounced jen-two)
Scientific name: Pygoscelis Papua
Size: Gentoos grow to around 30 inches tall, or about 2 ½ feet
Location: They live in the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands
What Do They Eat? Gentoos like to eat fish, squid and crustaceans
Main enemies: These guys have a lot of enemies! They have to watch out for elephant and leopard seals, and lots of predator birds like kelp gulls, skuas and giant petrels
photo by Chris Pearson
Gentoo penguins number into the hundreds of thousands. Picture a filled baseball or football stadium, and you’ll get an idea of how many of this breed lives among the islands found around the Antarctic. They take up hundreds of square miles of territory, because they are so many in numbers. While their numbers have grown smaller due to human impact on their environment, they still number around 600,000!
The Gentoo penguins look funny when they walk because their tail feathers stick out, kind of like a rooster tail on the back of your head! When they swim, their tails stick up out of the water, sort of like a fin. Funny indeed.
Male Gentoo penguins seem rather fond of fish, while the females seem to like krill. They like to group together to hunt at sea, and can form a large ‘blanket’ over the surface of the water that helps them catch all kinds of good things to eat. If they need to dive to find more food, these guys can dive to almost 330 feet down.
Gentoo penguins are rather fussy about their nests, and will often steal twigs, rocks and pebbles from other nests to help build their own. Needless to say, that causes some problems and fights can start over disagreements over “That’s mine, and that’s yours”.