Natural Habitat Adventures
Natural Habitat Adventures

Our Trips

Polar Bear Tours

Polar Bear Tours

African Safaris

African Safaris

U.S. National Parks Tours

U.S. National Parks Tours

Alaska, Canada & Northern Adventures

Alaska, Canada & Northern Adventures

Galapagos Tours

Galapagos Tours

Mexico & Central America Tours

Mexico & Central America Tours

South America Adventures

South America Adventures

Europe Adventures

Europe Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Asia & Pacific Adventures

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Antarctica & Arctic Journeys

Adventure Cruises

Adventure Cruises

Photography Adventures

Photography Adventures

Family Adventures

Family Adventures

New Adventures

New Adventures

Questions? Call 800-543-8917

Ask a Question

Fill out the form below to receive additional information about our or give us a call at 800-543-8917.

Get Weekly Updates

Privacy Policy

Download Trip Details

Catalog
Privacy Policy

Thank You!


Click here to see your trip details PDF. You should also receive it by email momentarily.

Get the Catalog

Together, Natural Habitat Adventures and World Wildlife Fund have teamed up to arrange nearly a hundred nature travel experiences around the globe, while helping to protect the spectacular places we visit and their wild inhabitants.

Request Your Catalog

(Continued)
To help us customize your catalog request, please tell us more about your travel needs:

View Our 2022 Digital Catalog

Help us save paper! We offer a digital version of The World's Greatest Nature Journeys. If you'd prefer a mailed copy, please provide your contact details here. To view our digital catalog, please enter your info below.



Send Us a Message

Use the form below to send us a comment or question.

Refer a Friend

Earn rewards for referring your friends!
Privacy Policy

Meet 5 Fascinating Antarctic Penguins

Meet 5 Fascinating Antarctic Penguins

penguin upside down looking at camera in Antarctica, guest wearing a yellow coat holding a red flag surrounded by penguins

There are some fantastic Antarctica discounts being offered on last-minute 2014 bookings, and we’re celebrating by featuring our favorite Antarctica articles all month on Good Nature!  This week, learn all about Antarctic penguins, a special highlight of any Antarctica cruise!

Long before they captured the hearts of audiences in movies like “March of the Penguins” and “Happy Feet”, penguins turned Antarctica’s most barren landscapes into teeming cities.

They number as many as 30 million and are scattered across Antarctica, its surrounding islands and as far north as the equator. Antarctica and its many surrounding islands are home to both common and increasingly scarce penguin populations – each with its own set of quirks.

King Penguins

group of emperor penguins inquisitively approaches a trip guest photographing them in a collapsing camp chair
Similar in look and breeding habits to the slightly larger and more popular emperor penguin, king penguins stand as high as three feet tall and proliferate the islands surrounding Antarctica. Some colonies live as far north as Australia and New Zealand.

Like emperor penguins, king penguins incubate their eggs on their feet under a fold of fat, but unlike emperors, king penguin chicks are deep brown. King chicks take an extraordinarily long time to mature, averaging 14-16 months to fledge. As they mature, the chicks grow to be enormous – sometimes almost as large as their parents – while still covered in comical brown fuzz. Congregating year-round in rookeries of more than 100,000 adult pairs, the chicks look like so many small bean bags.

Because the chicks take so long to fledge, these friendly and outgoing penguins only mate on alternating years.

Gentoo Penguins

pouty Gentoo penguin with his adorable fluffy white and grey coat and webbed orange feet

Pouty gentoo chicks like this one can be seen on Natural Habitat’s Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia cruise.

Gentoo penguins are closely related to chinstrap penguins, though they’re not nearly as numerous. Gentoo populations have declined by two-thirds over the last 25 years due to climate change and oil spills. Despite their sparse numbers, gentoo penguins are the most widely dispersed, being found across Antarctica, its outlying islands and farther north.

These gregarious penguins are happy to cooperate with one another at sea, forming live “sea rafts” in the hundreds to help one another catch prey. Gentoos are fond of trumpeting; their calls are often compared to the sound of a child’s party horn.

Chinstrap Penguins

a chinstrap penguin slides along the white snow as rocks twist towards the sky filled with more penguins

These chinstrap penguins at play were photographed by  Daniel Femke on an Antarctic Voyage in 2013.

Aptly named after the black stripe under their chins, which resembles a bike helmet and strap, chinstrap penguins are one of the most common penguin species, with populations numbering as high as 15 million. Although barely over two feet high, chinstraps are among the boldest of penguins, preferring icebergs and small, barren islands over more hospitable ground. Chinstrap penguins can commonly be seen hanging out on icebergs and rocky outcroppings across the sub-Antarctic.

Magellanic Penguins

group of five megellanic penguins stand on the sands in a line near the clear ocean

Magellanic penguins are native to South America, though their colonies are commonly found in the rocky coastal areas Argentina and Chile, as well as the Falkland Islands. These unusual penguins are the only species to venture into warm climates, with some colonies migrating as far north as the balmy waters of Rio de Janeiro.

These small, two-foot penguins can swim as fast as 15 mph. Due to their tendency to migrate to warmer waters, magellanic penguins shed the extra feathers around their eyes while they’re in warm temperatures, then regrow the feathers during colder seasons. In recent years, oil spills along their migration routes have taken a significant toll on their numbers.

Rockhopper Penguins

pair of rockhopper penguins have a stare off with their red eyes and bright orange beaks

Rockhopper penguins are named after the way they hop from rock to rock in their Sub-Antarctic island colonies. Visitors to the Antarctic may catch a lucky glimpse of these comical penguins on Saunders and the Falkland Islands.

One of the smaller penguin species at not quite two feet tall, rockhoppers are feisty and sometimes downright aggressive. Their mating routines and calls are particularly gregarious, made especially comical to onlookers by their tufted heads, which give the appearance of angry eyebrows. Rockhopper chicks are equally plucky, taking to the sea at a mere 10 weeks old.

Visitors – Be Respectful, Please!

Stumbling across penguin colonies and rookeries is a frequent and pleasant surprise along Natural Habitat’s many Antarctic journeys, although penguin sightings can never be guaranteed. These independent birds roam the sea, islands and continent across Antarctica and it’s not at all uncommon to come across two, three or even four species at one time.

As much fun as it is to interact with these inquisitive, fascinating birds, visitors must always keep their distance. Many species of penguin are listed as threatened and or vulnerable species, including the magellanic and rockhopper penguin.

Ready to get to Antarctica to see penguins in the wild?  Check out the special Antarctica offers that are currently being offered on last-minute 2014 cruises.  You can save 25% AND get a $1,000 credit toward airfare!

Call our experienced and knowledgeable Adventure Specialists today to find out which of our Antarctica expeditions best suits your wants/needs, budgets and schedule. Make this the year your Antarctic exploration dream comes true!

This post was republished with permission from the Quark travel blog.

About The Author

Natural Habitat Adventures

We have been a leading ecotourism and adventure travel provider since 1984. Led by world-class naturalist guides, our eco-conscious expeditions take you to the world's most remarkable nature locales.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.