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Named after the wife, Adéle, of the French Antarctic explorer, Dumont d'Urville, the Adélie penguin (Pygoscelis adeliae) is a distinctive black and white seabird with a characteristic tuxedo-wearing appearance. Adult Adélie penguins have a black head, with white rings around each eye, and a red bill. The back is black, with blue-tipped feathers, while the chest is solid white and the feet are grey-pink. Immature Adélie penguins have a bluer back than the adult, with a white throat and cheeks, and chicks are downy, with a dark grey head and grey body. This soft down provides insulation for the chicks against the Antarctic cold, but is not waterproof, and is replaced by waterproof feathers at around 2 months old. Although simple, the plumage of the Adélie penguin provides good camouflage when foraging in the ocean, as the black back will blend into the depths when viewed from above, while the white front keeps the Adélie penguin from standing out against the bright sea surface, when predators approach from below. Generally Adélie penguins complete shallow dives, but they have been known to dive to depths of up to 175 metres to forage. The Adélie penguin will often return to the colony where it was born in order to breed. Adélie penguins may cheekily steal rocks from their neighbours' nests to use for their own nest construction.



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