Adelie Penguin

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Height: 75 cm (30 inches) for average adult.

Weight: 4 to 7 kg (9 to 15 lbs) for average adult.


  • Classic black and white.
  • Small crest on head.
  • Noticeable white eye-ring.
  • Bill mainly feathered.
  • Juveniles covered with black down and have no eye-ring.


  • Pinkish.


  • Likes to feed on Antarctic krill.


  • Lives in colonies located across the ice pack on sandy beaches, rocky areas, cliffs, slopes and ledges.
  • Adult Adelies defend their territory aggressively, giving the rookery a high stress level feeling by waving outstretched flippers, raising their head crest, and dilating the white sclera around their eyes.
  • Nest is basic saucer shaped hollow in ground with lined with pebbles. The stones allow any snowmelt to drain away helping to keep the eggs dry.


  • Male Adelie Penguins invite courtship by standing on top of a little pile of collected pebbles, stretching their flippers horizontally and letting out loud cracking sounds.
  • When a female responds to his call, the two face each other and engage in mutual bowing. They continually engage in this display when returning to the nest to relieve the brooding partner or to feed their chick.
  • The females lay 2 eggs.
  • Both parents take turns guarding and feeding the chicks.
  • At 3 weeks the chicks join a crèche.
  • When the parents return with food they vocalize loudly to find their chicks and then engage in bowing and calling before the chicks are fed. The chicks rush to the parent for food. Sometimes after feeding, the chicks chase their parents around the colony pestering them for more food.
  • The chicks fledge when they are about 55 days old, swimming in the sea, jumping on ice floes and icebergs returning to the rookery in 2 to 3 years.
  • Adelies attempt to breed when they are between 3 and 8 years old and often stay together year after year.


  • Leopard Seals are the main predator when the adults are in the water.
  • Sheathbills steal many eggs.
  • Skuas prey upon young chicks.

Other Facts

  • Named in honor of explorer Jules Sebastien Bumont d’Urville’s wife, Adele.

Did you know?

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