Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chinstrap Penguin

A pair of Chinstraps
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Sphenisciformes
Family : Spheniscidae
Genus : Pygoscelis
Species : antarcticus

Height : 28in (72cm)
Weight : 9-14lbs (3.5-5kg)

IUCN Status : Least Concern

Chinstrap Penguins are one of the most abundant of all the penguin species. It is estimated that there are over 7 million breeding pairs! Chinstraps live and breed in colonies and can be found in Antarctica and on islands in Antarctic Waters. The species is named for the thin black strip of feathers that runs under their beak.

Chinstrap Penguins feed off of fish and krill, and can dive down as far as 230ft (70m). Using their flippers they are able to swim at speeds of around 20mph (32kph), and their dives typically last for 20-30 seconds.

Adult and Chick
Chinstrap couples lay two eggs, which are incubated by both the male and female. Chinstraps are relatively unique among penguins in that they raise their chicks with equal care. Many other species prefer one chick over the other.

In recent years, Chinstrap Penguins have gained some notoriety due to a children's book titled And Tango Makes Three. It tells the real life story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstraps who successfully incubated and raised a chick together. The book has been one of the most controversial in the past few years, and was the most challenged book of 2006, 2007, and 2008 according to the American Library Association.

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