Widespread Identify: Magellanic penguins
Scientific Identify: Spheniscus magellanicus
Weight loss program: Carnivore
Common Life Span In The Wild: 10 to twenty years
Common Life Span In Captivity: As much as 35 years
Dimension: 24 to 30 inches tall
Weight: 8 to 14 kilos
IUCN Crimson Checklist Standing: ? Close to threatened
Least Concern Extinct
What’s the Magellanic penguin?
The Magellanic penguin is known as for the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, whose crew noticed it whereas crusing across the tip of South America throughout their historic, if controversial, try to circumnavigate the world in 1519. This flightless seabird could be discovered on each the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the continent, primarily in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.
Considered one of 18 penguin species, the Magellanic penguin is understood for its black physique and white stomach, countershading that helps it keep away from predators whereas swimming. When seen from above, a penguin’s black again blends into the darkish ocean, and from beneath, its white abdomen is camouflaged by the sunshine from the sky. Penguins’ our bodies are perfect for swimming, because of their streamlined physique form that tapers at each ends, webbed ft, and lengthy flippers that assist them paddle. Oily feathers additionally preserve penguins heat.
Magellanic penguins do have distinct markings that may differentiate them from their family. Two black bands run throughout their white bellies: One thick black stripe encircles their necks whereas one other line of black feathers types an arc that rises to the highest of their chests and again right down to their ft. Magellanic penguins even have a stretch of white feathers that swoops down from every eye, becoming a member of to type a strap across the neck.
Habitat, breeding, and migration
Magellanic penguins are creatures of behavior. Not solely do they sometimes mate for all times, however these penguins additionally return to the identical nesting web site from which they hatched throughout every breeding season, which runs from September to mid-April. Colonies of penguins usually settle in coastal areas and look to construct their nests in spots the place shrubs and different vegetation can present protecting cowl.
Male penguins arrive to the habitat first to assert their nesting web site, often known as a burrow, whereas females arrive a number of days later. Laying a median of two eggs per breeding season, these penguins elevate their chicks collectively within the nest till they’re sufficiently old to forage on their very own. Magellanic penguins forage within the ocean, sometimes remaining on the continental shelf in Argentina. They eat primarily small fish like anchovies, sardines, and sprats.
As soon as the breeding season has ended, Magellanic penguins migrate north for the winter to the extra seasonable climes of Peru and Brazil, the place they’ll usually be discovered swimming a whole lot of miles off the coast. For some, this migratory journey could be so long as 4,000 miles.
Threats to survival
Magellanic penguins are one of many many species of penguin going through severe threats to their survival. Power oil air pollution—together with each unintended and intentional releases of oil from tankers throughout ocean transport—was among the many earliest threats they confronted. In response to the IUCN Crimson Checklist, it’s been estimated that oil air pollution killed greater than 20,000 grownup Magellanic penguins and 22,000 juveniles within the Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties.
Fisheries pose one other menace to those seabirds. Magellanic penguins have been recognized to get caught and drown in gillnets, a kind of internet that hangs vertically within the water and is designed to lure fish by their gills. It’s additionally change into tougher for these penguins to forage for meals as they compete with fisheries for anchovies and younger hake.
Lastly, local weather change is affecting Magellanic penguins as properly. Chicks specifically endure when the heavy rains related to excessive climate flood or collapse their burrows. Shedding that safety typically causes hypothermia or demise. There’s additionally proof that warming ocean waters is making it tougher for penguins to search out meals as their prey search cooler waters.
Fortuitously, there are a variety of tasks underneath means that goal to make sure the continued survival of the Magellanic penguin. Researchers are learning the consequences of fisheries and the hydrocarbon trade, whereas conservation teams are pushing for larger safety of their habitat.
In 2015, UNESCO established a biosphere reserve alongside the Argentinean shoreline that hosts the most important colony of Magellanic penguins on the planet. Pablo Garcia Borboroglu, founder and director of the International Penguin Society, led efforts to create that 3.1 million hectare Patagonian reserve. In 2018, Nationwide Geographic awarded him the Buffett Award for Management in Latin American Conservation for his work.
February 27, 2009—Microchip-implanted Magellanic penguins in Argentina have helped scientists analysis the threats to their colonies by simply doing what comes naturally.