| Latin Name
| Conservation Status
||Islands in the Antarctic Region
||Black & White
||75 - 90 cm (30 - 36 inches)
||5.5 - 8.5 Kgs (12 - 18.8 lbs)
| Life Expectancy
||10 - 15 Yrs (wild)
Up to 30 Yrs (in captivity)
Gentoo Penguins are the third largest species of penguin, after the emperor penguin and the king penguin. They reach heights between 75 and 90 cms (30 - 36 inches) and they weigh between 5.5 and 8.5 Kgs (12 - 18.8 lbs).
They are black and white in colour with a distinctive white stripe extending across the top of their head. They have a reddish/orange bill, brown eyes and their feet are yellow/orange.
Gentoo Penguins have a circumpolar distribution and are found on islands in the antarctic region. The main colonies are found on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Kerguelen Islands and smaller colonies are found on Macquarie Island, Heard Islands, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Gentoo Penguins mainly feed upon krill. Fish only make up approximately 15% of their diet.
Gentoo Penguins nest in early June. Their nests consist of a pile of stones that are roughly 20 cms (8 inches) high and 25 cms (10 inches) in diameter. The female will lay 2 eggs and the incubation is shared by both parents, alternating daily.
After 34 - 36 days the eggs will hatch and the chicks will remain in the nest for 30 days before they form creches. Chicks are coloured grey on their back with white colouration on their front. After 80 - 100 days the chicks will molt into sub-adult plumage and venture out into the sea.
It is unusual for both chicks to survive, the one that hatches first is usually stronger. However, if food is in abundance sometimes they will both survive. If Gentoo Penguins lose their first clutch of eggs they are able to lay a second clutch in the same season.
Predators of Gentoo Penguins include sea lions, leopard seals and killer whales. On land birds are known to prey upon chicks and steal eggs.
There are two subspecies of Gentoo Penguin:
Pygoscelis papua papua
Pygoscelis papua ellsworthii
Gentoo Penguins are the fastest underwater swimming bird and they can reach speeds up to 36 Km/hr (22.4 mph).
The total breeding population of Gentoo Penguins is estimated to be over 300,000 pairs.
Gentoo Penguins belong to the genus Pygoscelis, which also includes: