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The gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) is a penguin species in the genus Pygoscelis, most closely related to the Adélie penguin (P. adeliae) and the chinstrap penguin (P. antarcticus). The earliest scientific description was made in 1781 by Johann Reinhold Forster with a type locality in the Falkland Islands. They call in a variety of ways, but the most frequently heard is a loud trumpeting which the bird emits with its head thrown back. The gentoo penguin is easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a bonnet across the top of its head and its bright orange-red bill. It has pale whitish-pink webbed feet and a fairly long tail – the most prominent tail of all penguin species. Chicks have grey backs with white fronts. As the gentoo penguin waddles along on land, its tail sticks out behind, sweeping from side to side, hence the scientific name Pygoscelis, which means "rump-tailed". Gentoos reach a height of 51 to 90 cm (20 to 35 in), making them the third-largest species of penguin after the emperor penguin and the king penguin. Males have a maximum weight of about 8.5 kg (19 lb) just before molting, and a minimum weight of about 4.9 kg (11 lb) just before mating. For females, the maximum weight is 8.2 kg (18 lb) just before molting, but their weight drops to as little as 4.5 kg (9.9 lb) when guarding the chicks in the nest.[18] Birds from the north are on average 700 g (1.5 lb) heavier and 10 cm (3.9 in) taller than the southern birds. Southern gentoo penguins reach 75–80 cm (30–31 in) in length. They are the fastest underwater swimmers of all penguins, reaching speeds of up to 36 km/h (22 mph). Gentoos are well adapted to extremely cold and harsh climates.

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