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Adelie Penguin
Similar Birds:
 Chinstrap Penguin
 Gentoo Penguin

Adelie Penguin Video

Adelie Penguin
Photographer: Stan Shebs

Adelie Penguins & Chicks
Photographer: Brent J Sinclair

Adelie Penguins
Photographer: Mila Zinkova

Adelie Penguin Range Map (Antarctica)
Adelie Penguin Range Map (Antarctica)
Latin Name Pygoscelis adeliae
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location Circumpolar around Antarctica
Colour Black & White
Height 46 - 61 cm (18 - 24 inches)
Weight 4 - 5.5 Kgs (8.75 - 12 lbs)
Life Expectancy 10 - 15 Yrs

Main Characteristics

Adelie Penguins are one of the most well known and common Antarctic Penguins. They are between 46 and 61 cms (18 - 24 inches) in height and they weigh between 4 and 5.5 kgs (8.75 - 12 lbs).

They have a black head and back and a white coloured front. They have a distinctive white ring around their eyes and their beak is reddish in colour with a black tip.


Adelie Penguins are found in the Antarctic and the surrounding islands. They come ashore to breed in large colonies but they spend the winter months at sea.


Adelie Penguins mainly feed on krill, but they will also eat fish. They mainly make shallow foraging dives of 20 m (66 ft) but they can dive to depths in the region of 175 m (578 ft).


Adelie Penguins come ashore during September and October to breed. They nest in colonies containing thousands of birds and there is fierce competition for nesting sites. A breeding pair will construct a nest by scraping the ground and lining it with pebbles, often stealing pebbles from a neighbours nest.

The female will lay two greenish/white eggs in early November and both parents will share incubation duties. After approximately 35 days the chicks hatch and even though the eggs hatch close together, one chick is usually stronger than the other. Both parents closely care for and feed the chicks for two to three weeks but if food is scarce the smaller chick will rarely survive.

The chicks grow rapidly and after 3 - 4 weeks they join creches with other chicks to enable both parents to go to sea to feed and catch food for them. By March the chicks can swim and are ready to go to sea.


The main predators of Adelie Penguins are leopard seals. Eggs and chicks fall prey to skuas.


There are no subspecies of Adelie Penguin.

Interesting Facts

The population of Adelie Penguins stands at approximately 2.5 million pairs.

Adelie Penguins were named after the wife of the French explorer Admiral Durmont d'Urville.

Apart from the storm petrel, Adelie Penguins are the most southerly distributed of all sea birds.

In the 2006 film Happy Feet, the main character was an Emperor Penguin called Mumble and he befriended a group of cuban-accented Adelie Penguins.

Adelie Penguins belong to the genus Pygoscelis, which also includes:
Gentoo Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin

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