MAGELLANIC PENGUIN   -   Spheniscus magellanicus

Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
Magellanic Penguin is one of the most abundant of the world's penguins. BirdLife International estimates the population at around 1.3 million pairs. Most of these live off the coast of Argentina, where there are some spectacularly large breeding colonies. This one was at a very small nesting colony of maybe a dozen pairs. This bird was resting in the middle of the day. It's mate may have been incubating on one of the nearby nest holes. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
Another bird from the same small nesting colony. I think this is a female. Many birds can be sexed by bill shape. The males typically have a thicker bill, especially at the base, with a very straight edge to the lower mandible. Females usually have a slight curve near the tip of the lower mandible. I'm not sure what percentage of birds can be sexed this way, since there were some that I was not very sure about. Males also average a little larger but this can be hard to judge. (S6)


Punta Tombo Reserve - Argentina
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Punta Tombo, Chubut province, Argentina.
This and the rest of these photos were taken at the Punta Tombo reserve, which protects one of the largest breeding colonies, with around 200,000 pairs, a truly staggering number. It's a fantastic place to visit and I highly recommend it, though keep in mind that the breeding season is from September to April. The only downside is that you can't be in the reserve during the early morning and late afternoon hours when the light is best for photography. Photographing black and white subjects in harsh sunlight is always tough. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Punta Tombo, Chubut province, Argentina.
A pair; the male is on the left. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
Another pair. The male is in the nest cavity and the female is standing outside it. Both sexes contribute in raising the young. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
They nest in burrows in the ground, often under small bushes that help provide some shade. They are monogamous, use the same nesting burrow from year to year, and mate for life. I think this is a female. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
Pairs raise one or two young each year. I think the adult bird in this shot is a male. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
A young fledgling begs for food. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
Another nestling, probably a few days older than the one above. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
I was shocked at the brutality of the fight in these two photos. Both birds, presumably males, were bloody by the end of it. The loser went scampering off towards the ocean. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
It was not apparent what the fight was about. Were they fighting over mates, a nest cavity, or something else entirely? (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
There's no doubt who the male it in this photo. (S6)


Magellanic Penguin - Spheniscus magellanicus
Magellanic Penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus
Valdes Peninsula, Chubut province, Argentina.
A few minutes later... I resisted the temptation to photoshop in a cigarette... (S6)



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