Last updated on 1-Nov 2022
Adelie Penguins are a mid-sized penguin that lives at sea in the southern oceans for most of the year.
At sea, the Adelie Penguin’s contact call is a guttural bark. During courtship, they make a rhythmic throbbing sound.
The Adelie Penguin is a medium-sized penguin of sturdy appearance. The head does not have a crest but the rear of the crown is peaked, which is characteristic of the species. The head and chin are black. The bill is black with a dark red base and tip and appears stubby because it is covered with feathers for half its length. A conspicuous white eye-ring gives the bird a staring appearance. The feet are flesh pink.
Adelie Penguins are found mainly at sea in southern oceans around the coasts and islands of Antarctica, and only very rarely appear on the Australian coast, in winter.
Adelie Penguins live mainly at sea, generally within the limits of pack-ice.
With just two valid records of Adelie Penguins from Tasmania, the species is a very rare visitor to Australia and our subantarctic islands. They do, however, breed in numerous colonies on the Antarctic continent in Australian Antarctic Territory, almost anywhere the land is free of ice and accessible from the sea. This allows the adult penguins to forage crustaceans and fish at sea and then return with this food to feed their chicks.
They are inquisitive and unafraid of humans who visit Antarctica.
Adelie Penguins feed mainly on fish, crustaceans, amphipods and cephalopods. They can dive to about 175 metres but usually feed up to 70 metres below the water’s surface.
Adelie Penguins breed in summer, from October to March, mainly on the rocky platforms of islands of southern oceans. They breed in colonies, often in vast numbers, that are sometimes associated with other species of penguin.
The nests are made out of small stones, and males and females share incubation and care of the young almost equally. Incubation is 36 days and the nestling period is between 50 and 60 days.
Adelie Penguins breed in numerous colonies on the Antarctic continent, in Australian Antarctic Territory. Protection and conservation of Antarctica is crucial for all marine species.