World

Meet South Georgia's penguins

Published 6:21 AM ET, Fri December 11, 2020
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King penguins -- King penguins are the second largest penguin species in the world (behind emperors). Although they spend much of their time at sea, where they subsist on a diet of lanternfish, they head to land to incubate their eggs and rear chicks. Over the past century king penguin numbers have grown substantially on South Georgia. Malcolm Schuyl/Flpa/imageBROKER/Shutterstock
Macaroni penguins -- These crested penguins take their name from an 18th century European fashion trend. Like kings they spend a lot of time in the open water, but eat krill, a small crustacean. Adults weigh approximately 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) and can be as tall as 28 inches (71 centimeters). South Georgia's population has declined, although there has been a recent increase, says Norman Ratcliffe of the British Antarctic Survey. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Gentoo penguins -- Easily identified by the white feathers above their eyes, gentoos are another krill-eating penguin species living in South Georgia. The third largest penguin species, gentoos can grow up to 37 inches (94 centimeters) and are keen hunters -- in fact, they're the fastest underwater bird in the world, reaching speeds up to 22 miles (35 kilometers) per hour. Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Chinstrap penguins -- While not as populous as kings, gentoos and macaronis, chinstraps call South Georgia home too. Seen here with its gray-plumed chicks, male and female chinstraps are roughly the same size -- unusual in penguins. Recent data suggests South Georgia's chinstrap population has fallen significantly in recent decades. Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images
Adelie penguins -- South Georgia is the most northerly known breeding location of Adelie penguins, but they are also spread along the South Sandwich Islands archipelago. They like to nest on ice-free ground and can dive to 560 feet (171 meters) in search of prey. vickydoc/Alamy Stock Photo