Macaroni Penguin Facts
A-Z Collection of Cool Animals Challenge
M is for Macaroni Penguin Facts
Today I’m featuring macaroni penguin facts (Eudyptes chrysolophus), a species of penguin found from the Subantarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. The largest gathering of macaroni penguins is on South Georgia Island, with almost 3 million breeding pairs.
Macaroni Penguin Facts:
- Macaroni penguins are one the biggest and heaviest species of penguin. The adults average about 24-28 in (60-70 cm) in height.
- They have a wingspan of 31-39 in (80-100cm).
- The average weight of the macaroni penguin is 7-14 lbs (3.2-6.4kg).
- They can fly at a speed of 22 mph (35km/h).
- The macaroni penguin has two very distinctive features – a long red-colored beak and a crest of thin bright yellow feathers on its head.
Macaroni Penguin Facts:
- Macaroni penguins are carnivorous animals, surviving on fish, squid, krill, and crustaceans, which they catch with their long beaks. (An estimated four million tons of krill are consumed by macaroni penguins every year.)
- The macaroni penguin spends the cold winter months fishing in the ocean. When the weather gets somewhat warmer in the summer, they will head to land in order to breed.
- Macaroni penguins gather in large colonies which can contain up to 100,000 individuals in order to lay their eggs.
- Female penguins lay two eggs. The first egg, which is about the size of a regular chicken egg, gets tossed out of the nest. The female then lays a larger egg a few days later, and this is the one that will develop and hatch after about six weeks. No one knows why that first one is laid and discarded.
- Both the male and female macaroni penguin parents help to incubate the eggs and raise the chicks.
- Leopard seals, killer whales, and the occasional passing shark are the only real predators of the macaroni penguin since not much else can survive the freezing Antarctic Ocean.
- The average lifespan of the macaroni penguin is 15-20 years.
- There are approximately 18 million macaroni penguins in the world. However, their population has declined a lot over the past few decades, making the Macaroni penguins a vulnerable species.
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