Magellan Penguins

p magellan1  p magellan2







Height: 70 to 74 cm (25 to 28 inches) for average adult.

Weight: 4 to 6 kg (9 to 12 lbs) for average adult.


  • Double chest bands, a thick black band around the throat and a thinner one below on their chest.
  • Black eyes.
  • Patches of bare skin on their face that radiate excess heat to keep them cool.
  • Black bill with small hook at the end used to grasp fish when fishing.
  • Juveniles covered with gray down, black and white markings appear at age two.


  • Pinkish.


  • Dives for small fish and squid.


  • Breeds in burrows where digging is possible or under bushes. This is for protection from the sun in the windswept heat and higher temperatures when on land.
  • The nest/burrow consists of a nesting chamber located above a tunnel which also collects water during rain. When rain comes into the burrows the penguins must remove the mud by ejecting it with their feet.
  • Rookeries are found only on southern tip of South America and Falkland Islands.
  • Pairs return to the same burrow year after year.
  • At Punto Tombo, Argentine, the penguins make nests in the cool shade under plants and do not dig burrows.


  • Males arrive first and vocalize (call sounds like a donkey’s bray – giving the jackass name to the penguin) at the entrance to the burrow with their flippers open wide and bill pointed skyward.
  • The females lay 2 identical eggs and will rear two chicks if conditions allow.
  • Both parents take turns incubating, guarding and feeding the chicks every three to five days. As the chicks get older the foraging trips become longer allowing the parents to return with more food.
  • Chicks in Argentine colony gather in crèches whereas those from the Falkland Islands remain in or around the burrow.


  • Sea Lions are the main predator when the adults are in the water.
  • Striated Caracaras, Skuas, Vultures and Gulls prey upon the penguins on land.

Interesting Facts

  • Decline in recent years at some Falkland Island colonies apparently due to food shortages, Argentine population decreasing due to losses caused by oil spills and competition for land.
  • Named after Ferdinand Magellan who fist noted this penguin at Argentina’s Punta Tombo. © All rights reserved.

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