Macaroni Penguins Continued......


Physical Features and Nutrition



                                                Macaroni Penguin photograph by Pete and Barb



Physical Features:

    Adult penguins stand about 71 centimeters(25 inches) and weigh anywhere from 5 to 6 kilograms(11 pounds).  Females are generally smaller than males, but all have strong bones that ensure deeper dives.  The weight of their bones helps them stay underwater for longer periods of time, but they do resurface every two to three minutes.  Adult penguins have golden-yellow plum-like feathers that arise form a central path on the forehead and meet right behind the eyes.  The head, chin, throat, and upper-parts are black or blue.  The under-parts are white, with the flippers being white on the undersides and black or blue on the upper-surface.  The bills are commonly long and a reddish or brown in color.  The exposed part, (at the base of the bill), is pink, as well as the legs and feet, but the eyes are red.  The juveniles of this species commonly have elegant crusts, dull brown eyes, and brown or black bills.  Macaroni Penguins can be confused with Royal Penguins, but the difference lies in the face.  The Royal Penguins have white faces, whereas the Macaroni Penguins have black faces.  It is also difficult to tell the sexes apart simply by their plumage.  The only real difference in the two is the male is generally larger in size and has heavier bills than the female.


penguin photos

Photograph by Pete and Barb



    Macaroni Penguins are predators.  They generally eat crustaceans (krill), fish, and squid.  The Antarctic krill, Euphausia superba, is what their diet primarily consists of.  Both male and female penguins forage, and the young is feed by regurgitating what they ate.  The distance covered from foraging during the incubation time was significantly longer than the distance covered during chick-rearing.  These penguins pursue their food by diving no more than 50-200 feet.  Night foraging does occur, with the penguins diving down to 300 feet, but this only happen occasionally.  The dives they take rarely exceed two minutes in duration.  During the breeding season, these penguins will fast up to forty days, ending when the female returns with food for the young. In many cases, the chick doesn't receive any type of food until a week after its egg hatches.