Chinstrap penguin facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Chinstrap penguin
A chinstrap penguin
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Pygoscelis
Binomial name
Pygoscelis antarcticus

The chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) is a species of penguin which inhabits a variety of islands and shores in the Southern Pacific and the Antarctic Ocean. Its name derives from the narrow black band under its head which makes it appear as if it were wearing a black helmet, making it one of the most easily identified types of penguin. Other common names are "ringed penguin", "bearded penguin", and "stonecracker penguin" due to its harsh call. Chinstrap penguins are found in polar, shallow seas and coastal areas. Some penguins are born very pale and are called ‘Blonde’ penguins.

Distribution and habitat

Chinstrap penguins have a circumpolar distribution. They breed in Antarctica, Argentina, Bouvet Island, Chile, the Falkland Islands, the French Southern Territories, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Vagrant individuals have been found in New Zealand, the islands of Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha, and South Africa. Global population is estimated at least 8 million. There are more chinstrap penguins than any other penguins in the world.

Ecology and behaviour

The diet of the chinstrap penguin consists of krill, shrimp, fish, and squid which they swim up to 80 km (50 mi) offshore each day to obtain. The chinstrap penguin is able to withstand swimming in freezing waters due to its tightly packed feathers, which provide a waterproof coat. Thick blubber deposits provide insulation, as well, and blood vessels in the flippers and legs have evolved intricate structures to preserve heat.

On land they build circular nests from stones, and lay two eggs, which are incubated by both the male and the female for shifts of 6 days. The chicks hatch after about 37 days, and have fluffy gray backs and white fronts.

Size

These little penguins are only about 28 in (71 cm) tall and weigh about 10 lb (5 kg). Chinstraps may be small, but they are the boldest penguins of all.

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Chinstrap penguin Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.