Overview Name Location Habitat Features Penguin features Penguin Tuxedos Close relatives Diet Excellent swimmers Hunting strategies Behavior Breeding season Nesting Nesting pairs Colonies Chicks Predators Population Threats Good news
Name The scientific name of the Magellanic penguin is Spheniscus magellanicus. They were named after Ferdinand Magellan who first saw them in 1519 on his first journey around the tip of South America. They are also called The Jackass penguin because of the donkey-braying sound they make. Other penguins make the same distinct sound like the Humboldt penguin. They are also called the Patagonian penguin.
Location They are only located in South America. The Falkland Islands. Argentina. Chile. Juan Fernandez Islands. Staten Island. Tierra de Fuego. Falklands Tierra de Fuego
Habitat The Magellanic penguin live on rocky shores and beaches. They are temperate climate dwellers. They can live in forested areas or bare plains with just small vegetation that they need. Scrub surface areas. Even on cliff faces. But usually they rather choose areas with sandy surfaces for easy digging and burrowing like coastal beaches. They also swim in the waters around southern South America.
Features The Magellanic penguin is the largest of all warm weathered penguins. They have black to brown shadings on their back and white coloring on their breasts. They also have bonds that cross its front, which is what gets them confused with their close relatives the Humboldt, African and Galapagos penguins. One bond is a wide black strip under the chin and another in the shape of an upside down horseshoe on the stomach. They also have dense feathers (more than 70 per square inch). The feathers have oils on them for waterproofing the penguin. Their coats look like they are wearing tuxedos that give them somewhat comical air. It also helps them hide from predators. They stand about 27inches (70 cm) tall and weigh about 9lbs (40km) The tails are short and wedge shaped. The legs and webbed feet are set far back on the body which gives them the upright posture on land. (Basically to all penguins).
Penguin Tuxedos! The penguins’ coat makes them look like they’re wearing tuxedos that give them somewhat comical air! They have very dense feathers (more than 70 per square inch). Their coat also help them hide from predators. The white belly blends in with the bright sunlight. The black back blends in with the dark ocean waves. They also have black dots on their chest and bellies.
Close Relatives All of existing and no longer existing penguins are in the Spheniscus family. The Magellanic penguin is closely related to the Humboldt, African, and Galapagos penguin. They look very similar to each other but with very little distinct features. African penguin Humboldt penguin Galapagos penguin
Diet Their diet is like most of other penguins which consists of small fish like sardines and cuttlefish, squids, and other crustaceans. They have salt-excreting glands that gets rid of salt water from their bodies when they ingest the water with food. squid Cuttle fish krillSardines
Excellent Swimmers The penguins are excellent swimmers like all penguins. They can swim for long distances. They use their wings (or flippers) as paddles and can reach speeds up to 15mph.
Hunting Strategies Hunting Strategies The penguins have certain ways of catching there food. They go out to sea in small groups. The penguins generally dive at depths of less then 50m in the sea, but often they’ll dive up to 100m. They search for schools of fish or grill together. They tighten the school of fish into a compact mass of confused fish. The penguins work together to drive the fish into the shallows where it makes it easy for catching them. group foraging together A group returning from foraging
Behavior Magellanic penguins are considered aggressive and can inflict a hard bite. Magellanic penguins are considered aggressive and can inflict a hard bite. They may approach you and try to bite you if you got too close for comfort which can happen to any tourist. They cock their heads side to side as a warning. They are also really shy and will only become aggressive if provoked, like if you got close to a nesting pair. Usually if humans do approach nesting sites, they’ll send penguins scurrying back to their burrows for safety with their heads popping out every few moments to check if you are still around or moved on. They are often seen performing the “estatic display”. It can be a mating ritual or to indicate that they own territory. They stretch their necks, point their beaks up to the sky, spread their wings and make the braying noise. They often do it for over periods of time like for an hour or more. Penguin biting a man in the rear Pair hiding from camera man Penguin braying
Breeding Season Breeding season for the Magellanic penguin is from late September to early February. The adults come to shore to establish nesting sites within loose colonies. That’s when they are really shy. They gather on large nesting colonies which can contain 20 nests per square meters. Females may begin mating at 4 years old. Males don’t normally start until they are at least 5 years old. The reason why is simply because it makes it easier for inexperienced females to find partners than for inexperienced males. During the warm weather of the breeding season they loose the feathers around their eyes. The skin underneath turns pinkish. When it start to get cold it’ll grow back. They only attempt to breed once a year. Colony nesting Pair at their burrow
Nesting pairs There are about 400,000 breeding pairs. Magellanic penguins usually show strong site and mate fidently. Which means they are loyal to each other and wont mate with any other penguin and that they’ll always know where to find each other. The pair bond with each other by allopreening, which means that they clean, trim or dress each other’s feathers with their beaks. All penguins preen. They mate for live. The penguins build nests under bushes or burrows under rocks. The females will lay two eggs that are four days apart and often both chicks will be raised. The eggs will hatch after 39 to 40 days. When they hatch, the chicks will be parented by both parents who share the parenting duties 10 to 15 days each. During chick- rearing, the parents go foraging daily during the day time except in the Falklands where food is hard to find. Pair preening each other Pair greeting each other
Penguin Colonies All penguins gather in numbers for different reasons called Colonies. Common reason is for breeding season. They contain large numbers of penguins. One of the largest colonies is located at Punta Tombo, Argentina. Colonies contain adults, juveniles, and chicks. Sometimes two or three types of penguin colonies can be located in the same spot on beaches. In colonies of Chile, like Magdalena Island, all of the space is used up by the Magellanic penguins. Even areas where the ground isn’t made for nesting penguins Different colonies over the southern part of South America
Chicks! Chicks hatch after 39 to 40 days of incubation. The two chicks stay in their burrows for 5 weeks. Chicks and younger penguins have grey-blue blacks, with more faded grey blue on their chest. Young birds usually have blotched patterns on their feet which fades as they get older. The chicks are fed and guarded for 29 days. After 29 days the chicks start to molt. When they are 60 to 70 days old, they will go out to fish in the sea on their own. Chicks and eggs are easy prey for gulls and Giant petrels when unguarded. Magellanic penguins can live up to 30 years in the wild! parents on eggs Juvenile penguin
Population The world population of breeding Magellanic penguins is around 1,800,000 pairs. Their numbers aren’t threatened but they are declining. Magellanic penguin population declined severely in the Falklands during 1980’s and 1990’s due to commercial fishing for squid and fin fish. The Falklands population is so low that 80% to 90% of burrows are not being used. The penguins there have no problem finding a burrow for when they need to. But populations are still high in Chile and Argentina where there’s protection from commercial fishing. Adult penguins in Chile and Argentina are able to find a lot of food and return to their chicks on a daily basis with foraging hours averaging from 16 to 17 hours. But the adult penguins in the Falklands, forage longer than then the penguins in Chile and Argentina. It takes them approximately 35 hours to find the same amount of food as the penguins in Chile and Argentina.
Threats Magellanic penguins do have threats other than their natural predators. Oil spills are a threat. Fishing nets are threats. And fishing of their habitat is one of the major threats. It decreases their food supply for them. Humans are the causes of all these threats to the Magellanic penguins and many others too. Hundreds of penguins killed by fishing nets Penguins covered in oil
GOOD NEWS!!! The penguins have Wildlife Conservation Societies to help save the suffering penguins. WCS Patagonian Seascape Southwestern Atlantic Seascape. There are still thousands of Magellanic penguins in the world. They aren’t endangered species. Things are starting to get a little better for them!!