There are 17 species of penguins in the world. Four of them can be seen at the Biodôme.
Scientific name: Aptenodytes patagonica
Height: 85 to 95 cm
Weight: 12 to 16 kg
Distribution of the king penguin.
King penguins are the second-largest penguins.
These penguins do not make nests. Males incubate the egg, holding it on their feet and protecting it with a fold of bare skin at the bottom of their bellies. The chicks have a brownish down coat for close to one year.
The diving record for a king penguin is 200 metres, lasting 15 minutes.
Scientific name: Pygoscelis papua
Height: 76 cm
Weight: 5 to 6 kg
Distribution of the gentoo penguin.
These are fairly shy penguins, but the most active in water. At the Biodôme they can often be seen swimming along and jumping out of the water, to breathe at the surface.
In the wild, this behaviour allows them to escape predators; they also use it when hunting. Gentoos are the fastest penguins. They can reach 27 km/h and depths of over 100 metres.
Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysocome
Height: 45 to 58 cm
Weight: 2 to 2,5 kg
Distribution of the rockhopper penguin.
The tufts (yellow feathers) on rockhopper penguins are not horizontal, like those on macaroni penguins, but droop forward, giving them a slightly mischievous look. These penguins are very skilful climbers, jumping with both feet from one rock to another as they make their way along cliffs – hence the name.
At the Biodôme, we feed the rockhopper penguins thawed smelt and capelin, by hand. On occasion we also give them sardines, a special treat.
It was once a tradition in the Malouine islands to collect rockhopper penguin eggs on November 9, for the birds’ eggs and flesh are edible. This practice almost wiped out the species, but today they are protected by very strict laws.
Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus
Height: de 66 à 76 cm
Weight: 3,5 kg
Distribution of the macaroni penguin.
These birds lay two eggs, of different sizes. In the wild they push the first egg out of the nest, and then lay a second one. At the Biodôme, we often put the first egg in an incubator.
Their name comes from the so-called “macaroni dandies,” 18th-century British travellers who dressed flamboyantly and wore bright feathers in their hats.