Image: Gentoo Penguin Illustration

Gentoo Penguin Illustration

Gentoo Penguins are black and white diving birds that live in large colonies in Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands. They have orange and black beaks and webbed feet with long toenails. They call with a braying sound, a bit like a donkey.

Creator:
Andrew Howells
Rights:
© Australian Museum

Notes

Gentoo Penguins are black and white diving birds that live in large colonies in Antarctica and sub-Antarctic islands. They have orange and black beaks and webbed feet with long toenails. They call with a braying sound, a bit like a donkey.

Gentoo Penguins search under water looking for crustaceans, fish and squid. They look for crustaceans and small fish on shallow dives and bigger fish and squid on deeper dives. They catch their prey in their beak and swallow it whole underwater or they go to the surface to swallow it.

Gentoo Penguins make a nest from a shallow hollow in the ground that they line with grass, feathers, stones, shells and moss. Females lay two white eggs in the hollow. Both parents sit on the eggs to keep them warm for 34 to 36 days. When the eggs hatch the chicks are helpless and without feathers. Both parents feed and care for the chicks until they are four weeks old. They then join a group of other young penguins from the colony.

The young penguins stay on shore together while their parents hunt for food for them. The young penguins begin to swim and feed themselves when they are about three months old.

A penguin's tongue is covered with lots of little spiky spines that all point backwards into the throat so that when a penguin catches a fish it is gripped by the spines and cannot escape.

 

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