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Strange birds

Video: penguins at the Biodôme

There are 17 species of penguins in the world. Four of them can be seen at the Biodôme.

Image: king penguin
king penguin

King penguin

Scientific name: Aptenodytes patagonica

Height: 85 to 95 cm

Weight: 12 to 16 kg

Sound: king penguin
Click here to heard the sound - 12 Ko

Image: distribution of the king penguin
distribution of the king penguin

Distribution of the king penguin.

Video: 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.

Image: gentoo penguin
gentoo penguin

Gentoo penguin

Scientific name: Pygoscelis papua

Height: 76 cm

Weight: 5 to 6 kg

Sound: gentoo penguin
Click here to heard the sound - 34 Ko

Image: distribution of the gentoo penguin
distribution of the gentoo penguin

Distribution of the gentoo penguin.

Video: 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.

Image: rockhopper penguin
rockhopper penguin

Rockhopper penguin

Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysocome

Height: 45 to 58 cm

Weight: 2 to 2,5 kg

Sound: rockhopper penguin
Click here to heard the sound - 23 Ko

Image: distribution of the rockhopper penguin
distribution of the rockhopper penguin

Distribution of the rockhopper penguin.

Video: 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.

Image: macaroni penguin
macaroni penguin

Macaroni penguin

Scientific name: Eudyptes chrysolophus

Height: de 66 à 76 cm

Weight: 3,5 kg

Sound: macaroni penguin
Click here to heard the sound - 14 Ko

Image: distribution of the macaroni penguin
distribution of the macaroni penguin

Distribution of the macaroni penguin.

Video: 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.

For more information:
Cold? No problem! | Descriptive records

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