5 Penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands!

What are the different kinds of penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands?

Types of penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands

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 5 PENGUIN species in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands:


#1. Gentoo Penguin

  • Pygoscelis papua

Types of penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 51 to 90 cm (20-35 in) tall and weigh 4.5-8.5 kg (10-19 lbs).
  • This species has a wide, white stripe that looks like a bonnet across the top of its head. The beak is bright reddish-orange.
  • Their feet are webbed, and they have elongated tails.

This species is one of the largest penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands.

Gentoo Penguins have adapted to extremely cold and harsh climates, and one of the ways they stay warm is with extra body weight. They are also the fastest underwater swimmer of all known penguin species, with a top speed of 36 kph (22 mph).

Gentoo Penguins live in coastal Argentina, the Antarctic Peninsula, and Southern Ocean islands from the Falkland Islands to Macquarie Island.

Even though they are one the largest penguins in the world, Gentoo Penguins are susceptible to predators. Sea lions, killer whales, and leopard seals are particularly dangerous. They’re much safer on land! Despite these dangers, the Gentoo Penguin population is stable, and they are a species of Least Concern.

  • Estimated Global Population: 775,000 individual penguins

Gentoo Penguins have various sounds they use to communicate in their colonies, but the most famous one is a loud trumpeting emitted as the bird throws its head back. LISTEN BELOW!

YouTube video

#2. King Penguin

  • Aptenodytes patagonicus

Types of penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 70-100 cm (28-39 in) tall and weigh 9.3-18 kg (21-40 lb).
  • Its coloring is dark on the back, wings, and legs, with bright yellow-orange plumage at the top of its chest and around each eye. The belly is white.
  • The wings are large and flipper-like, and the beak is long and straight.

The King Penguin is the second largest penguin in the world.

Many people confuse them with the largest species, the Emperor Penguin, because they appear somewhat similar.

King Penguins live throughout the Southern Ocean, with sightings in South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and various islands.

These athletic penguins are impressive in the water! They can swim at 6.5–10 kph (4–6 mph) and dive to depths of 100-300 m (350-1000 ft). In addition, they can stay underwater for up to five minutes.

Even though they’re agile swimmers, King Penguins must be vigilant because they’re a favorite food for many sea mammals. In particular, sea lions will chase these penguins right onto the beach!

YouTube video

Like many types of penguins, King Penguins are susceptible to loss of habitat because of climate change. Even though they are currently a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List, their population is expected to decline by up to 70% in the next eighty years.

  • Estimated Global Population: Between 2 and 3 million breeding pairs

#3. Southern Rockhopper Penguin

  • Eudyptes chrysocome

Types of penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands

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 the French Southern & Antarctic Lands.

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

#4. Macaroni Penguin

  • Eudyptes chrysolophus

Types of penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are about 70 cm (28 in) long and weigh around 5.5 kg (12 lb).
  • Their coloring is black above and on the face with a sharp line that distinguishes the white underparts and belly.
  • They have prominent yellow or orange crests above the eyes, and their legs and feet are pink.

The Macaroni Penguin is one of the six species of crested penguins in the world. Their colonies are some of the largest, with around 100,000 individuals in some of them. Despite these numbers, there has been a decline in their population, so their current conservation status is classified as vulnerable.

Macaroni Penguins inhabit the Southern Ocean and have breeding colonies in South America, the Antarctic Peninsula, and various islands.

The diet of the Macaroni Penguin mainly consists of crustaceans like krill, small fish, and cephalopods. They eat more marine life per year than any other seabird! Unfortunately, they have numerous predators in the water, including the leopard seal, orcas, and giant petrels.

  • Estimated Global Population: 18 million individuals

#5. Royal Penguin

  • Eudyptes schlegeli

Identifying Characteristics:

  • Adults are 65–76 cm (26–30 in) tall and weigh 3–8 kg (6.6–17.6 lb).
  • They have black and dark gray backs, heads, and wings.
  • Their faces and chins are white, with yellow eyebrows and large orange beaks.

The Royal Penguin is a social species, so they often cohabitate with other colonies, especially while hunting. This behavior helps to eliminate competition for resources and offers protection from predators. They eat krill, small fish, and squid.

Royal Penguins are found almost exclusively on Macquarie Island in the Southern Ocean.

These penguins have an unusual breeding habit that experts can’t explain. The female lays two eggs but almost always abandons the first egg a day before the second egg arrives, reducing the chances of the first one hatching. The chosen egg is kept warm by both parents.

After hatching, the male takes care of the chicks for two to three weeks while the female hunts. If the female doesn’t return with food, the chick usually doesn’t survive.

Royal Penguins are considered a vulnerable species due to habitat loss, climate change, and predation. In the past, this species was hunted for its oil, which caused a drop in population.

  • Estimated Global Population: 850,000 breeding pairs

Do you want to know more about penguins in the French Southern & Antarctic Lands?


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