Today’s new Birdorable is our third “king” before Christmas. Here is our cute cartoon King Penguin!
The King Penguin is a very large species of penguin, smaller only than the Emperor Penguin. Adult birds can be recognized by their black and white body plumage and by the golden orange patch at the back of the head.
King Penguins have an unusual breeding cycle which takes around 15 months to complete. They breed in large colonies. After a chick hatches, the parents take turns keeping the baby penguin safe and warm while the other adult forages for food for 3 to 7 days. The foraging bird returns, feeds the chick, and relieves the other parent to go off and find food for 3 to 7 days. This period, known as the “guard phase” lasts up to 40 days. Then, during the austral (southern hemisphere) winter, parents leave their chicks in a large communal creche. The chicks fast (eat nothing) for over 4 months, huddling together to keep warm as they wait for the parents to return. Fledging (which for penguins means achieving independence – not flight) occurs a few months after the adults return.
Tomorrow is Christmas day! We will conclude our 2020 Birdorable Bonanza with an appropriately named seabird. Are you ready? We sure are!
Â Â Â Yankee Doodle went to town Â Â Â A-riding on a pony, Â Â Â Stuck a feather in his cap Â Â Â And called it macaroni.
American fans may recognize these lyrics from the song "Yankee Doodle", a popular tune dating back to the American Revolution. The above stanza, used in later versions of the song and still sung today, refers to a fashion style popularized in the early 19th century: maccaronism. This referred to a fashion style adopted by young men who wore flamboyant clothing with unique and bold ornamentation. Does this remind you of any birds you know?
The Macaroni Penguin was first named for science at a time when macaronis were deeply embedded in popular culture. The flamboyant yellow head feathers found on this dapper little black and white penguin gave the species its common name.
Today another penguin joins Birdorable! Here is our cute Gentoo Penguin.
This special flightless bird lives across parts of the Antarctic. Gentoo Penguins are closely related to Adelie Penguins and Chinstrap Penguins. Unlike their cousins, Gentoos prefer rocky surfaces to packed ice for both roosting and nesting.
Today is Penguin Awareness Day! This commemorative day is always celebrated on January 20th, though the origins of the holiday are unclear. What is very clear is that these special charismatic birds deserve celebration! Many of the world's penguin species face population threats from habitat loss and other environmental strains.
Here are some resources for learning more about penguins:
To get your mind on these flightless black-and-white beauties, we are debuting a new fun puzzle series here at Birdorable. Let's play Which one doesn't belong?
The birds in the image below have a lot in common, but one of them doesn't really belong. Can you pick out the species of penguin that doesn't go with the others, and tell us what the others have in common? Visit the meet page if you need help identifying the birds and finding out which one doesn't belong.
This week we added the Humboldt Penguin to Birdorable. Humboldt Penguins live along the Pacific Coast of South America. They feed on small fish and krill which they hunt as they glide effortlessly through the water. The conservation status of the Humboldt Penguin is considered vulnerable; destruction of habitat is a major culprit.
These beautiful medium-sized penguins are found in zoos around the world. A pair of male Humboldt Penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo made headlines back in 2009 when they raised a baby penguin together. The same-sex couple "adopted" an egg that was abandoned by its parents and successfully raised the chick from incubation through feeding and finally independence. Prior to this incident, several of the zoo's Humboldt Penguins displayed same-sex preferences (which caused a stir back in 2005), but it was not until 2009 that a couple actually raised a baby together. Check out our Humboldt Penguin t-shirts and gifts and other Birdorable Penguins.
Chinstrap Penguin at Point Wild, Elephant Island by Liam Q
Chinstrap Penguins are cute little black-and-white birds that live in huge colonies in Antarctica and nearby islands. They are named for the black stripe that runs under the chin which resembles a helmet strap. Chinstrap Penguins are one of the most common species of penguin found in the world, with a population estimated at over 8 million birds.
Tomorrow's bird is a little black and grey bird that breeds on Cyprus. Can you guess what it will be?