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King Penguin Rookery at Right Whale bay, South Georgia, Sub Antarctic


Panorama of the immense King Penguin rookery at Right Whale Bay, South Georgia, sub Antarctic Island. King penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus, breed on many of the subantarctic islands between 46° and 55°S. In 1993, the population of king penguins south of the Antarctic Polar Front was estimated at approximately 1.5 million breeding pairs. Immature and non-breeding birds disperse and travel far from breeding localities. However, chicks remain in colonies throughout the year and breeding adults return to feed chicks on an irregular basis throughout the winter. The chicks fast for long periods between meals while the adults are away feeding at sea. At any one time chicks of various ages are present in the colonies due to the long breeding season. Eggs are laid from November to April. The chicks have very thick brown down and when first discovered were named Woolly Penguins as they were thought to be a separate breed. King penguins typically breed in two years out of three. From courtship to the fledging of the chick may take 14 months or more. Both parents share incubation of the egg and brooding of the chick, which takes approximately 15 weeks. King penguins have no nests and their eggs are incubated on the adults’ feet. Chicks are fully fledged after nine months. At their breeding colonies King penguins are highly gregarious, although the breeding adults remain separated from non-breeding birds. Fighting among birds in these colonies is rare. King penguins forage for squid and fish at the Antarctic Polar Front (where Antarctic and subantarctic surface waters meet). They feed by pursuit-diving, using their flippers to ‘fly’ underwater. Original image over 7,000 pixels long.

  King Penguin Rookery at Right Whale bay, South Georgia, Sub Antarctic
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King Penguins, Aptenodytes patagonicus, adults, chicks, rookery, beach, hillside, tussock grass, green, nature, wildlife, travel, expedition, landscape, cold, view, vista, sub antarctic, South Georgia, Right Whale bay, panoramic, panorama,
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Panoramic Photographer: Carole-Anne Fooks

View all panorama photos by , panoramic photographer from Adelaide, Australia

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