Magallanic Penguin in Valdes Peninsula Argentine Patagonia

Magallanic Penguin in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina
Also known as Magellanic Penguin, Child bird, Booby Bird, Donkey bird, Patagonic Penguin or Common Penguin. They visit Peninsula Valdes in their thousands, and allow us to observe them very, very closely. Penguins are perfectly adapted to marine aquatic life at low temperatures.
The Penguins’ beak in Peninsula Valdes

Magallanic Penguin in Valdes Peninsula Argentine Patagonia

A product of evolution, their spindle-shaped body allows better displacement of water, resulting in high hydrodynamic corporeal form.The Penguins’ beak is vertically flattened, very strong, long and curved at its end, together making it an excellent tool to capture their food. Like other birds its beak is adapted inside to regurgitate transported food for their young. On the bird’s palate, there are “rugae (wrinkles) palatal” which channel prey down the oesophagus and prevents it from escaping.
  Penguins’ wings are short, very flat and strong. They are flightless, but their movement in the water is really a flight rather than swimming.The bird’s sternum is also very powerful, and is a shield to withstand the shock of diving into the water from considerable heights. In water, the wings act as propellers, driving the Penguin at speeds up to 28 miles per hour.

They are flightless, but their movement in the water is really a flight rather than swimming
 They are extremely acrobatic underwater, which is necessary for them to catch their prey and also to allow them to escape predators. This agility comes about by using their feet as rudders.
Penguins are extremely acrobatic underwater


Behaviour
In late January and February, groups of young born the previous season, spend nearly two weeks on land where moult their pens for first time. These non-breeding birds tend to group together under bushes to escape the heat of the Sun.
 males Penguin and Females in Peninsula Valdes Patagonia Argentina

All penguins moult once a year and during that time remain on land, without feeding.
Penguins spend much of their time preening and maintaining their plumage, which is very important to maintain the waterproof quality of the plumage.


Reproduction
Males are slightly larger than females and have longer and wider beaks. The male weighs about 4 to 5 kg and is 45 cm tall. They reach sexual maturity at 4 or 5 years for both sexes. Each year in late August, early September males start arriving, then females.

Males Pnguin renovate nests used in previous years in Patagonia

 Males renovate nests used in previous years. They nest up to about 800 meters from the coast, but natural accidents can make their walk from the sea more than one kilometre. Females usually lay two eggs in early October and after 40 days of incubation (shared with the male) the chicks are born.

The chicks are born covered with dark gray down
 Both sexes defend the nest and feed the young with fish such as anchovies and squid. The chicks are born covered with dark gray down, which is lost in February when moving into juvenile plumage. At this time the chicks become independent making their first forays into the sea in search of food. The following year they’ll acquire adult plumage after another moult.

Their relationship with the man

While they do not fear the presence of man, they are not 100% sociable. They tend to run behind people who walk between nests, and if someone gets too close or try to touch them, don’t have any doubt that will receive a painful peck.
Although Penguins are lucky enough for not to possess anything useful to Man, they are adversely affected by Man’s actions, due to over fishing and water pollution, especially with the spillages of oil offshore. Once oiled, penguin’s feathers lose their insulating capacity, so they lose warmth and seek refuge on the beaches, where they die by poisoning caused by ingesting oil whilst attempting to clean their plumage and starvation.
It is therefore very important to generate awareness and for strict legislation regarding transportation and extraction of oil.
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