Wildlife, particularly those adorable penguins, are a great distraction in a landscape of dazzling white wilderness in Antarctica.
For over 20 years, Aurora Expeditions have taken adventurers on voyages there to see some of the planet’s 17 penguin species. So it is no surprise to australiancruisingnews.com that Aurora’s expedition team has a penguin dossier.
Check it out below.
Social skills: Penguins are very social and live in large colonies. The island of South Georgia is home to one of the world’s largest king penguin colonies with almost half a million creating an unforgettable mix of sights, sounds and smells.
So chic: In 1840 French explorer Dumont d’Urville discovered and named the Adélie penguins after his wife. These penguins are highly dependent on sea ice for the krill part of its diet.
Change of costume: Penguin chicks are born with brown, grey or white down before permanent black and white feathers that seem to resemble a dinner suit.
Parents of the year: With keen listening skills, adults can find their off-spring in a crowd of up to 80,000. Some penguin young, like Chinstrap penguins, mass in groups, guarded by a few adults while the rest go sea fishing.
Funny fashion: One of the funniest looking penguins, with orange feather plumes above each eye, are Macaroni penguins which are found on the Antarctic Peninsula and on the Falkland/Malvinas and South Georgia islands. They are named after flamboyant 18th century dressers known as the ‘Macaroni Dandies’.
Happy feet: Penguins have strong feet with large well-developed claws that enable them to climb slippery rocks and icy surfaces with the yellow crested Rockhopper well-known for nesting on rocky slopes.
Home sweet home: Most Antarctic penguins lay eggs in open nests built mainly with pebbles that are highly sought after during nest-building periods. Other species like the Magellanic penguin prefer to dig burrows to breed, but no nest is needed by King and Emperor penguins as males incubate a single egg by balancing it on top of their feet and covering it with a special brood pouch.
Aurora Expeditions 54-passenger ship Polar Pioneer will be penguin spotting during Antarctic cruises from November this year until March next year, auroraexpeditions.com.au