Right this moment, April 25, marks World Penguin Day — a possibility for a lot of wildlife organizations to tout conservation efforts for these charismatic, amphibious birds.
It’s almost winter within the southern hemisphere, and April 25 coincides with Antarctic penguins’ annual northward march to the ocean.
Penguins are a number of the hardiest and most adaptable birds on the planet. However like all wildlife, they aren’t impervious to all issues. Rising international temperatures, misplaced or discarded fishing gear, and ocean air pollution pose important threats to many penguins’ existence.
Consultants say that of the 18 penguin species, 5 are endangered — Galapagos, African, northern rockhopper, erect-crested, and yellow-eyed — and one other 5 are threatened.
Just lately, an Antarctic expedition found a newly settled gentoo penguin colony. Researchers discovered that habitat loss pressured the Gentoos’ out-of-character exodus upon them. Quickly rising temperatures unequivocally induced their habitat loss.
Penguin species and areas
Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, household Spheniscidae) embody aquatic, flightless birds which are native completely to the southern hemisphere.
Whereas many colonies reside in colder climes like Antarctica, others are indigenous to extra temperate zones. The Galapagos penguin lives simply south of the equator, making them the northernmost penguins. In distinction, a colony of Adelie penguins discovered close to Cape Royds, Antarctica, is the southernmost.
As famous above, 18 species make up the penguin household. Under are the areas the place many of the world’s penguins are discovered.
5 species spend time on the Antarctic peninsula, however solely emperor and Adelie penguins dwell there year-round. The opposite three — chinstrap, Gentoo, and macaroni penguins — go to the peninsula, however they breed on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands additional north.
Although current proof reveals that historic penguins seemingly originated in Australia and New Zealand. Right this moment, only one species calls Down Underneath house — the little (or “fairy”) penguin.
Some little penguins nest alongside the mainland’s southern coast, however most colonies dwell on Australia’s outlying islands to the south.
Bounty and Antipodes Islands
The Bounty and Antipodes Islands, deep within the South Pacific, are erect-crested penguins’ solely identified breeding grounds. Not a lot is thought about their migration patterns due to the extraordinarily distant location.
The Falklands, a distant archipelago south of Patagonia within the Atlantic Ocean, has 5 species — Magellanic, rockhopper, Gentoo, king, and macaroni penguins. The Falklands home the world’s largest Gentoo inhabitants. Their numbers have risen considerably within the final 20 years — a development that’s refreshing however uncommon.
Off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos are properties to the Galapagos penguin — a slight and cave-crawling variation of the hen. Solely 600 breeding pairs exist within the wild, making this northernmost penguin species one of the endangered.
Maybe surprisingly, New Zealand has 4 penguin species — little, snares, yellow-eyed, and Fiordland. Most New Zealand penguin colonies exist alongside the South Island and outlying southern islands, the place chilly currents can be found.
The yellow-eyed penguin is the biggest within the area. Subsequent to the Galapagos penguin, it’s additionally essentially the most endangered.
Only one species is thought to Africa — the African penguin. For many of historical past, African penguin colonies lived on islands alongside the southern coast. However, in 1980, two settlements have been established close to Cape City, South Africa.
Though the species is decidedly endangered, the South African colonies are doing comparatively properly. Researchers consider that an uptick in people to the area has pushed again a number of the penguins’ pure predators.
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Not one of the a number of species that frequent South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are year-round residents. Nevertheless, some impressively giant colonies breed at each spots.
Chinstrap, king, and macaroni penguins collect in dense teams to mate there. Current estimates point out that greater than one million pairs of macaroni penguins breed on the islands.
Tristan da Cunha
Tristan da Cunha is a collection of small islands within the South Atlantic, equidistant from Africa and South America. It’s the most distant island chain on this planet. Nonetheless, it’s house to some 27,000 northern rockhopper penguins.
Sadly, northern rockhopper populations have been on the decline for the reason that Fifties, primarily resulting from rising temperatures and the discount of prey. The northern rockhopper is taken into account endangered.
Some info about penguins
- In response to numerous research, penguins are the world’s hottest birds. (Puffins are second on the listing. There’s one thing that pulls folks to flightless, comical-looking birds.)
- Penguins are distinctive divers. They will dive as much as 50 metres deep and keep underwater for as much as 20 minutes.
- Penguins spend one-half to three-quarters of their lives at sea. When seaborn, Magellanic penguins can journey as much as 16,000 kilometres looking for meals.
- Some penguin colonies have returned to the identical breeding grounds for hundreds of generations — they’re absolute creatures of behavior.
- Mother or father and chick penguins share distinctive chirps, which permit them to find each other among the many crowd.
- When making ready for a dive, the emperor penguin can speed up its coronary heart price to 250 beats per minute, which programs oxygen via its physique. As soon as submerged, it might preserve oxygen by slowing its coronary heart down to six beats per minute.
To be taught much more about these distinctive birds, try the beneath video, courtesy of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition.