At just over two feet tall and weighing between eight and ten pounds, Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae) are one the smaller species of penguins. The Adelie penguin has a black back and white front. Its main distinguishing features are its light pink feet and legs and short stubby beak mostly hidden behind feathers.
Habitat and Diet
The Adelie penguins inhabit coastal regions of Antarctica and the surrounding islands including the Sandwich Islands and South Shetland Islands. They are not found in the Arctic like polar bears. They stay on ice shelves with easy access to the water. Adelie penguins eat mostly a diet of krill.
Adelie penguins can live as long as 16 years. However, their lifespan greatly depends on when they first breed. Female Adelie penguins that breed young at age three have only a 25 percent survival rate. This is attributed to the young penguin not as skilled in escaping predators on land and not able to catch enough food during breeding. Those that wait to breed until age five have a much higher survival rate.
Fun Fact About Adelie Penguins
Adelie penguins use the sun to guide them. In a study conducted by biologists in Antarctica in the 1960s, it was found that on cloudy days Adelie penguins wander in a random pattern. However on sunny days, they head in a constant direction and even corrected their “orientation 15 degrees per hour clockwise relative to the sun’s position,” reports Ornithology by Frank Gill.