Aptenodytes magellanicus J. R. Forster, 1781, Strait of Magellan.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Manchot de Magellan; German: Magellanpinguin; Spanish: Pingьino de Magallanes.
28 in (71 cm); female weight 5.9–9.0 lb (2.7–4.1 kg), male 6.4–10.6 lb (2.9–4.8 kg). Boldly striped penguin with two black bands across chest. Sexes similar but female smaller than male. Cheeks and cap brownish black, divided by wide white ring. Black back and white underparts lightly splotched with black. Stubby black bill with gray band near tip. Eyes are brown. Feet are pink blotched with black. Juveniles smaller than adults and breast bands are not distinct.
Breeds in coastal areas and on offshore islands along the southern part of South America, occasionally in southern coastal Australia and New Zealand. Breeding
seems to be moving northward. Migratory outside of breeding season; birds from colonies at the tip of south America may travel as far north as Peru and southern Brazil.
Breeds on bare or vegetated islands, in flat areas and on cliff faces. Colonies located in areas where offshore winds cause upwelling of deep, cold, nutrient-rich waters so that primary productivity is high. Birds have best nesting success in protected sites under bushes or other vegetation. Feed inshore during breeding season and in pelagic waters during migration.
Foraging birds may be seen porpoising in long lines, one after the other. Breed in large colonies; often return to the same nest site from year to year. Voice described as a mournful, donkey-like braying; often call in chorus at night.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Eat mostly small, schooling fish such as anchovies, sardines, and sprats but diet varies depending on prey availability. Most dives descend 66–164 ft (20–50 m). Underwater swimming speed measured at about 4.7 mi/hr (7.6 km/hr).
Where soil allows digging, they nest in burrows; otherwise they build nests on the ground. Both members of pair build nest. Two-egg clutch is laid and eggs are of similar size. Parents share incubation, brooding, and guarding duties. Chick hatched from second-laid egg less likely to survive to fledging. Chicks independent at 60–70 days.
Listed as Near Threatened. A 1994 study estimated that oil pollution kills 40,000 penguins a year on the southern coast of Argentina.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
In the past, native peoples killed penguins for meat and for their skins. Today, Magellanic penguin rookeries at Punta Tombo in Argentina are a major ecotourism destination, attracting 50,000 visitors a year.
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