Chinstrap Penguin

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Height: 71 to 77 cm (28 to 31 inches) for average adult.

Weight: 3 to 5.5 kg (7 to 12 lbs) for average adult.


  • Thin black stripe across white throat, the ‘chinstrap.”
  • Unfeathered black bill.
  • Red irises.
  • Juvenile has speckled gray face and throat.


  • Pink.


  • Antarctic krill and small fish.


  • Lives on rocky and ice-free slopes, often above Adelie and Gentoo Penguins on sub-Antarctic Islands.
  • The first birds to arrive at the rookery choose the highest places because they are the locations that become ice-free.
  • Nests are lined with stones to allow any snowmelt to drain away helping to keep the eggs dry.
  • Chinstraps climb to these choice nests using their sharp-clawed feet and beaks.
  • They return to the same nesting site year after year.
  • These colonies are often large, extending over slopes inland for great distances.


  • With a strong attachment to their mates the males arrive first and wait on the nest for the females.
  • The nest is a flat saucer of small stones often having a few bones and feathers.
  • New breeders find a rocky hollow and continue to add pebbles during the entire breeding cycle.
  • The pair guard the nest since neighbors steal stones if given a chance.
  • Female and male share the duty of incubating the 2 eggs for about 37 days.
  • The female is responsible for the first 6 days then both parents feed the chicks frequently on regurgitated krill.
  • The chick is covered with light gray downy feathers.
  • Chicks join a crèche in about a month allowing both parents to fish.


  • Leopard Seals while they are in the water.
  • Sheathbills snatch many eggs.
  • Skuas prey upon chicks.

Interesting Facts

  • Chinstraps are one of the most gregarious of penguins making these birds noticeably noisy and sociable. © All rights reserved.

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