Magellanic Penguins

January-February, 2015

 

Magellanic penguins don't live in a world of cold, ice and snow. They are only found around the Falkland Islands (population 100,000 pairs) and South America (1.2 million pairs). 

In the Falkland islands Magellanic penguins are easily spotted and found over a big area. They nest in the burrows like rabbits giving preference to soft soil, peat and tussock areas. 

Magellanic penguin chicks prefer to stick tightly to their parents' side and stay close to the burrows which are up to  2 m (6ft) long.

After a rainy day they come out of the burrows looking like they desperately need a shower.

Fresh water pond is a perfect place to enjoy a refreshing "bath".

Magellanic penguin, locally known as Jackass, can produce a loud, donkey-like braying call which is funny considering it comes from such a small bird. Penguins can recognize each other out from among hundreds of others just by their voices.

"Teenagers" try to act like adults and copy their parents.

Magellanic penguins lay two eggs. After hatching, chicks remain in the nest. By the end of 30 days they develop their thicker down. January is a month when they start moulting and part way through the process the chicks start looking like little punks.

Magellanic penguins in general are known as shy birds. From our experience we can tell that it depends on a bird; some will hide in the burrows as soon as they notice us, others wouldn't mind to walk right up to us.

With hungry chicks to feed adult Magellanic penguins head out to the sea to forage daily.

They return late afternoon or evening. 

Magellanic penguins are social birds and love gathering together to “discus things” and share small secrets.

One day we've spotted a Magellanic penguin covered in thick sea foam by a rocky Sea Lion island coast. He was followed ashore by other "foamy" and a bit strange looking penguins. It was a very windy day and we believe that an agitation of the water from stormy weather created this thick ocean foam. 

Magellanic penguins are wide spread in the Falkland islands. A few of them we even spotted near an "airport" runway on Saunders island. By the way, a white shed is an airport base.

Magellanic Penguin is a summer visitor to the Falkland Islands so by mid-April colonies are deserted. The birds return in September which is spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

 

More information about wildlife photography in the Falkland Islands you'll find in our blog

 

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