The Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae, is a species of penguin
common along the entire Antarctic coast. They are among the most southerly
distributed of all seabirds, as are the Emperor Penguin. In 1840,
French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville named them for his wife, Adéle.
These penguins are mid-sized, being 46 to 75 cm (18 to 30 in) in length
and 3.6 to 6 kg (7.9 to 13 lb) in weight. Distinctive marks are the
white ring surrounding the eye and the feathers at the base of the
bill. These long feathers hide most of the red bill. The tail is a
little longer than other penguins' tails. The appearance looks somewhat
like a tuxedo. They are a little smaller than other penguin species.
Their appearance is closest to the stereotypical image of penguins
as mostly black with a white belly.
There are 38 colonies of Adélie penguins, and there are over
5 million Adélies in the Ross Sea region. Ross Island supports
a colony of approximately half a million Adélies.
The Adélie penguins breed from October to February on shores
around the Antarctic continent. Adelies build rough nests of stones.
Two eggs are laid, these are incubated for 32 to 34 days by the parents
taking turns (shifts typically last for 12 days). The chicks remain
in the nest for 22 days before joining creches. The chicks moult into
their juvenile plumage and go out to sea after 50 to 60 days.
The Adélie penguin is known to feed mainly on Antarctic krill,
ice krill, Antarctic silverfish, and Glacial Squid (diet varies depending
on geographic location) during the chick-rearing season.
Adelie penguins are preyed on by leopard seals and skua.