Magellanic Penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) - Wiki
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[Photo] Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) near Punta Arena, Chile, photographed in its natural summer habitat during NASA's AirSAR 2004 campaign, March 13, 2004. Source: www.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/DC-8/HTML/ED04-0056-121.html
The Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus) is a South American penguin, breeding in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil. It is the most numerous of the Spheniscus penguins. Its nearest relatives are the African Penguin, the Humboldt Penguin and the Gal??pagos Penguin.
Magellanic Penguins are medium-sized and black and white in colour, growing to 70-76 cm (28-30 in) tall and a weight of 5.2 (11.5 lbs). Their black head has a broad white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, to join on the throat. They have blackish-grey backs and whitish stomachs, with two black bands between the head and the breast, the lower in an inverted horseshoe shape. Life span in the wild is up to 25 years and up to 30 years in captivity.
Magellanic penguins feed in the water, preying on cuttlefish, sardines, squid, krill, and other crustaceans. Since they take in sea water with their prey, a salt-excreting gland has evolved to filter out the salt.
Behavior and reproduction
Magellanic penguins travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, these birds gather in large nesting colonies at the coasts of Argentina, Southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, having 20 nests per 100 square meters. Nests are built under bushes or in burrows. Two eggs are laid. Often both, but sometimes only one is raised through adulthood. Incubation lasts 39-42 days, which the parents share in 10-15 day shifts. The chicks are cared for by both parents for 29 days, and fed every 2-3 days. These birds are very shy on land and hide in their nests while on shore.
Status in the wild
Millions of these penguins still live on the coasts of Chile and Argentina, but the species is classified as "Near Threatened," primarily due to the vulnerability of large breeding colonies to oil spills, which kill 20,000 adults and 22,000 juveniles every year off the coast of Argentina. The decline of fish populations is also responsible, as well as predators including sea lions and giant petrels, which prey on both the chicks and the adults.
Interestingly,these penguins mate with the same partner year after year. Males reclaim the burrow from the previous year and wait to reconnect with their female partners. The females are able to recognize their mates through their call alone.
More Photos at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Spheniscus_magellanicus
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