3 Types of Penguins found in Chile! (2024)

What are the different kinds of penguins in Chile?

Types of penguins in Chile

It’s easy to see why people are fascinated with penguins. Besides their adorable looks, these birds are unlike any other in the world!

They’re flightless birds that love to swim, they stand upright instead of hunched over, and almost all of them live in the southern hemisphere.

Keep reading to learn about EVERY type of penguin that lives on the planet, including photos and range maps!

THE 3 PENGUIN species in Chile:


#1. Magellanic Penguin

  • Spheniscus magellanicus

Types of penguins in Chile

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 61–76 cm (24–30 in) tall and weigh 2.7 and 6.5 kg (6.0-14.3 lb).
  • In males, the coloring is black on the back, with a white abdomen and two black bands between the head and the breast. Females and young have a similar pattern in more muted grays.
  • These penguins have rigid, flipper-like wings used to swim underwater.

This species is one of the most recognizable penguins in Chile!

With their bold black and white markings, distinctive bills, and reddish skin around the eyes, you won’t have any trouble spotting this penguin along the coasts of South America!

Magellanic Penguins are found in coastal South America from Brazil to Chile and on the Falkland Islands.

These amazing birds are a social species known to travel in large groups while hunting for food. Magellanic Penguins routinely dive to depths of 20-50 m (66-164 ft), where they find their prey. They mostly feed on squid, krill, cuttlefish, and other crustaceans.

When the breeding season comes, Magellanic Penguins group in large nesting colonies along southern coasts. They lay eggs in warm places where the temperature is over 20 °c (68 °f). As is typical with most penguins, the male and the female parents take turns leaving the nest to feed.

Magellanic Penguins face threats like oil spills, predators, and climate change. But luckily, at the moment, these penguins are plentiful and are considered a species of Least Concern by the IUCN.

  • Estimated Global Population: 1.5 million breeding pairs

#2. Humboldt Penguin

  • Spheniscus humboldti

Types of penguins in Chile

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 56-70 cm (22-28 in) tall and weigh 2.9-6 kg (6.4-13.2 lb).
  • They have a black head and a white marking that goes from behind the eye and chin to join at the throat.
  • The upper parts are black or dark grey, while the abdomens are white, with a black breast-band.

Humboldt Penguins in Chile are incredibly outgoing!

This species is popular in zoos because of its boisterous, excitable nature. They’re often seen crowding around zookeepers, trying to be first in line for a treat!

In the wild, Humboldt Penguins like to build their nests on rocky coasts, where they burrow holes into crevices. Interestingly, they often live in harmony with Magellanic penguins.

Humboldt Penguins are found along the west coast of South America in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.

These penguins have excellent eyesight, which is their main hunting tool. They can track fast-moving schools of ocean fish like sardines and anchovies, then dive up to 54 m (177 ft) to catch them.

Unfortunately, Humboldt Penguins face more threats to their existence than many other types of penguins. First, they have to contend with predators and invasive species. Additionally, these birds are particularly sensitive to human disturbance, climate change, competition from fisheries, and industrial development. All these factors combined have caused the Humboldt Penguin’s population status to be listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

  • Estimated Global Population: 12,000 breeding pairs

#3. Southern Rockhopper Penguin

  • Eudyptes chrysocome

Types of penguins in Chile

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 45–58 cm (18–23 in) tall and weigh 2–3.4 kg (4.4–7.5 lb).
  • Look for their straight, bright yellow eyebrows finishing in yellow plumes over a red eye.
  • The upper part of its body is solid gray, and the belly is white.

Southern Rockhoppers are the showiest penguins in Chile.

Just look at that yellow eyebrow and crown of feathers on its head. This species is ready for a party! 🙂

And its looks aren’t the only thing that sets the Southern Rockhopper apart. Many penguins avoid obstacles by sliding on their bellies or climbing using their flippers. However, this species jumps across cracks and boulders instead.

There are two subspecies of Southern Rockhopper Penguin. The western subspecies lives on the southern coast of South America, and the eastern subspecies lives on the southern coast of Australia.

These adaptable penguins also have complex hunting behaviors. They can travel in groups up to 57 km (35 mi) away from their colonies. They hunt for between 12 and 15 hours at a time, leaving the colony around dawn and returning at dusk.

It shouldn’t be surprising that Rockhopper Penguins are highly recognizable because of their looks. In addition, their breeding grounds are also popular tourist destinations!

Unfortunately, Rockhopper Penguins are also considered vulnerable to extinction because of their recent population decline. The threats against these penguins include competition from commercial fisheries and oil spills. However, several zoo breeding programs are leading efforts to help the species thrive.

  • Estimated Global Population: 1 million breeding pairs

Do you want to know more about penguins in Chile?


Which type of penguin in Chile is your favorite?

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